(NEW YORK) — Police arrested three men who allegedly tried to extort $80,000 from an elderly man in a so-called grandparents scam.
The suspects, identified as Leevansky Lambert and Eghosasere Auboraye, of Florida, and Keon Smith, of Maryland, were arrested on Saturday for allegedly targeting elderly people in what authorities are calling a “grandparents scam,” according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The men allegedly scammed 78-year-old Norman Geller, of New York, by pretending to be his grandson “Austin,” whom they claimed was in a car accident and in need of money.
Police said one of the men contacted the victim via phone last Tuesday, claiming to be Austin’s attorney and instructed the victim to send $9,800 via FedEx to a Florida address to bail out his grandson, according to an arrest warrant.
“Geller received another phone call which he was informed that one of the passengers in the vehicle were pressing charges and they needed more money,” according to the warrant.
Geller said he received another call and was told to send an additional $18,000 via FedEx to another Florida address, according to the warrant. He was contacted two more times and asked to send $30,200 and $22,000 to other Florida addresses, the warrant said.
“Geller received another phone call which he was informed that one of the passengers in the vehicle were pressing charges and they needed more money,” the warrant said. “Geller was told that he needed to send $32,000 or else Austin would have a warrant out for his arrest.”
The victim said he sent a total of $80,000 in four separate FedEx shipments. Police managed to recover some of the money.
Investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said they caught the suspects by staking out one of the delivery addresses.
Lambert, 22, Auboraye, 24, and Smith, 24, were charged with grand theft over $20,000, burglary of a dwelling and conspiracy to commit extortion. It’s unclear if they’ve obtained attorneys.
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