A Bronx man was arraigned on grand larceny charges Thursday, three months after, prosecutors said, he stole $45,000 in cash from an Oceanside woman who thought she was handing over funds for her son’s bail after the alleged scammer falsely told her the son had been arrested for a drunken-driving crash.
Frederik Regalado, 23, was arraigned on an indictment before Nassau County Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz on three counts of third-degree grand larceny and was being held on $600,000 bond or $300,000 cash, according to a news release from Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Regalado is due back in court April 4, court records show. Third-degree grand larceny is punishable by a prison term of 2-1/3 to 7 years, officials said.
His Legal Aid Society attorney could not be reached for comment.
“This defendant allegedly took part in a cold-hearted scheme and stole $45,000 from an elderly woman who believed that her son was in trouble,” Singas said. “When these types of scams are committed against seniors, it not only robs them of their dignity, but also of their peace of mind.”
Prosecutors said Regalado anonymously called an 81-year-old Oceanside woman at 11 a.m. on Dec. 3 with a ruse. He said her son had been arrested for driving drunk after he was involved in a crash in Manhattan, authorities said. The caller, who prosecutors said was Regalado, said the court was asking for $7,500 in cash bail to secure his release.
Regalado, prosecutors said, visited the victim and collected the money — but called back at 3 p.m. that day and said the court demanded $7,500 more because the judge in the bogus case had increased the bail amount after the person struck by the victim’s son’s car had lost her fetus in the crash.
Regalado then returned to the Oceanside home and collected another $7,500, prosecutors said.
Two hours later, about 5 p.m. “the caller stated that the woman had to send an additional $30,000 to pay for medical bills that were related to the car crash,” officials said, adding that Regalado returned and collected another $30,000.
The scam was revealed when the victim’s son called shortly after Regalado had left and she learned that her son was not involved in an accident, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors are urging the public to beware of phone scams and to report any irregularities to the district attorney’s office tip line at 516-571-7755.