Bordentown Township police arrested two Paterson residents, Kevelin Garcia and Edgar Trejo-Tavarez, earlier this week for their involvement in a “grandchild in distress” phone scam.
Township police were contacted by the Chicot County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI on Dec. 13 and informed that a 93-year-old Chicot County, Arkansas resident had received a “grandchild in distress” phone call. The victim was asked to ship money to address in Bordentown.
An investigation revealed that the caller identified himself as an attorney who was representing the victim’s grandson and claimed that the grandson had just been involved in a motor vehicle accident while drinking and driving. The caller claimed that the accident involved a pregnant female who may lose her baby as a result of the collision and said that the victim’s grandson was being detained by the police and needed $3,500 in bail money to be released.
The caller then directed the victim to ship the bail money through the USPS to an apartment complex located in Bordentown Township, according to a statement from the township police. The victim reported the scam to police.
Bordentown police worked with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to arrange for a controlled deliver of the money to the apartment complex on Dec. 17. Police waited and watched as Garcia and Trejo-Tavarez claimed the shipping envelope from the postal carrier and drove off in a 2005 Honda Accord.
Township police took the suspects into custody and subsequently found an additional $10,130 in cash, which was seized pending forfeiture. Police believe the pair received the additional cash through similar scams.
Garcia and Trejo-Tavarez were both charged with conspiracy to commit theft by deception. Trejo-Tavarez was also charged with possessing a false government document.
“This investigation is a textbook example of inter-agency cooperation at its finest,” Bordentown Township police chief Brian Pesce said in a statement. “I hope this arrest sends a strong message that law enforcement will follow the trail no matter where it leads and seek justice for those victimized by these types of schemes.”