More than $15,000 belonging to a 77-year-old woman in Kansas was seized Tuesday from a Farmingdale man who told her that her grandson needed to be bailed out after a DWI arrest, Suffolk police said.
Instead, it was Abel Hernandez, 21, who was charged in the phone scam after he tried to pick up a package containing $9,900 in cash at a Lindenhurst residence about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
When he knocked on the door of the North Kings Avenue house, the homeowner got suspicious because Hernandez did not know the name on the package and so she called police, authorities said.
Officers discovered the cash-filled package and investigators learned Hernandez had picked up another package Saturday from the same house from another resident there, saying the that it belonged to him, police.
First Precinct detectives determined that the money was sent by a woman from Riley, Kansas, and working with Riley County police, they learned she had gotten a call from someone claiming to be an employee of the “Public Defense Department.”
The scammer falsely claimed that her grandson had been arrested and needed $6,500 to be kept out of jail, detectives said, and after Hernandez got that, he convinced her to send $9,900 more, saying the bail amount had been increased.
Police said Hernandez had $5,300 from the first delivery in his pocket when he was arrested.
Hernandez, of West Walnut Street, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on two counts of grand larceny.
Seniors across the country have been targeted in phone scams for years, and the send-bail con game has been a favorite of scammers, authorities have said. The victims often don’t call their loved ones to determine if they’ve been arrested, police said.