A Copiague man attempted to scam a North Carolina woman out of $5,200 by falsely telling her that her grandson had been arrested for driving while intoxicated and that she needed to send money for his bail, Suffolk County police said.
Anderson Espinal-Corona, 28, of Greenlawn Terrace was arrested Thursday morning and charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny. He was issued a desk appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.
Authorities said the 80-year-old North Carolina woman received a call on Wednesday from a person claiming to be her grandson and saying that he had been arrested for DWI following a car crash that injured another person. The caller then put another person on the phone who claimed to be an attorney and said he needed $5,200 to bail out her grandson, police said in a news release Thursday.
The woman was instructed to put the money in a book inside a box and mail it to Espinal-Corona's Greenlawn Terrace address. Suffolk County Financial Crimes detectives said they intercepted the package, removed the money, and allowed the box to be delivered. Espinal-Corona, who lives at the home, went to retrieve the package and was arrested.
The money will be returned to the victim.
The arrest comes one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James warned seniors about the "Grandparent Scam."
The pervasive telephone con targets seniors who receive calls from fraudsters posing as their grandchild, falsely claiming to be in trouble and asking them to immediately send money.
The caller, for example, might claim to need bail money after being arrested for drunken driving or that they need cash because their car broke down or they were mugged, James said. In other cases the scammer may pose as an attorney, a bail bondsperson, or a law enforcement officer contacting the grandparent on behalf of a grandchild.
Most calls are made in the middle of the night or early in the morning when the victim may not be alert enough to ask questions, James said. Victims are often instructed not to contact the grandchild’s parents, she said, and to purchase prepaid debit or gift cards and to call back and read the serial number on the cards, allowing the scammer to transfer the funds.
New Yorkers who have been targeted by this scam are urged to file a complaint with the AG's Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau or by calling 800-771-7755.