A Queens man swindled an Ohio woman out of $21,600 before he was caught trying to pick up the fourth shipment of cash at an abandoned house in Rockville Centre, Nassau police said Friday.
Dashill Jean, 32, of Rosedale, pleaded not guilty at Friday's arraignment in connection with a phone scam that convinced the 83-year-old woman that her grandson needed bail money, police said. On a fourth call to the woman at her home, she was told that she needed to send $8,900 to expunge her grandson's criminal record and that was when she became more concerned and called police, authorities said.
Officers spotted Jean picking up the delivery Thursday morning at a Waterview Drive house and booked him on two counts of third-degree grand larceny and third-degree attempted grand larceny.
The arrest highlights a surge of such scams on Long Island, many targeting older people. Their prevalence, and their varied methods, have alarmed police commissioners and officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, prompting them to warn residents about the frauds.
Jean's attorney, Steven Gaitman of Hempstead, declined to comment on the details of the allegations because he had not spoken in depth with his client. Jean was expected to be released on $10,000 bond. "He adamantly denies the charges," Gaitman said.
Police said the scam started May 20 when a caller told the woman her grandson had been arrested and she needed to send $9,600 for bail to a Maryland address. On May 22, she got a call instructing her to send $6,000 to a Clinton Avenue house in Rockville Centre, police said. On May 24, someone claiming to be her grandson's lawyer said $6,000 was needed for bail again, and the cash should go to the same Clinton Avenue address, detectives said.
Other details were not immediately available Friday, including whether Jean was suspected of being the caller in all four phone conversations or whether investigators suspect he was working with others. It was also not immediately clear if he had been charged by police in Maryland.