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Long IslandCrime

Sting operation nabs scammer, Nassau police say

Rafael Sanchez, of Manhattan, was charged with third-degree

Rafael Sanchez, of Manhattan, was charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny and second-degree criminal impersonation Credit: NCPD

A Manhattan man was arrested Wednesday after he tried to con a Bellmore resident out of $7,000 by impersonating his grandson and asking for money to bail him out of jail, police said.

Rafael Sanchez, 37, of Fairview Avenue, was caught with the help of the victim, a 72-year-old man, Nassau County police said.

“The victim, who became suspicious and was aware of ongoing scams being perpetrated on the public, called the First Precinct and spoke to detectives about what had just transpired,” police said in a news release Thursday.

Detectives and undercover officers turned the tables on Sanchez and set up their own sting, police said.

The arrest marks the latest in a surge of these scams, many of them targeting older people on Long Island.

The prevalence of the scams, whose methods vary, alarmed police commissioners and officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, prompting them to hold news conferences in March to warn residents about the frauds.

In the Bellmore case, the victim, whose name was withheld, worked with police to catch the fraudster, police said. The victim called the telephone number that Sanchez had given him to set up a meeting to deliver the bail money.

Police said a detective, who posed as the victim by wearing clothes that the victim had described to Sanchez, went to a Stop & Shop parking lot to deliver the cash.

Sanchez, who was pretending to be the victim’s grandson, was arrested after he showed up at the Stop & Shop parking lot to collect the money, police said. Investigators are looking to see whether Sanchez had help.

Sanchez was charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny and second-degree criminal impersonation. He was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead and held pending bail of $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash, according to court records.

Attempts to reach the Mineola-based attorney listed for him in court records, Zeena Abdi, were unsuccessful.

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