Scammer Tricked the Victim into Sending More than $650K in Cashier’s Checks (SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced today that his office’s Financial Crimes Bureau, in partnership with the Suffolk County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, were able to recover $140,000 and return it back to an 87-year-old Suffolk County victim of a phone scam and warns the public to very skeptical if they face similar circumstances. “Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and they are preying on our vulnerable elderly population. The public needs be made aware of how they operate so they can take precautions to safeguard their funds if they are targeted,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Due to the diligence and timely efforts of law enforcement partners, we were able to recover $140,000 here and provide it back to the victim. To avoid being scammed, any time you receive a phone call or communication where the person requests your personal information, money, or requests a transfer of funds, stop that line of communication. Hang up the phone. Do not respond to that email or text. Take a moment to slow down and be skeptical. Call your bank or the agency that the scammer says they are from using published phone numbers (not a phone number the scammer gives you). Consult an expert or law enforcement, or just speak with your dependable friends or relatives about the phone conversation before accepting the story as true and sending money.” 2 According to the investigation, the scam here began in July 2022, when the elderly victim was told by someone purporting to be from her bank that her account had been flagged, and she was instructed to call a number for “FBI Special Agent Johnson.” The victim, who is from Setauket, asked that her identity be kept confidential. When the victim called the number provided by the scammer, the purported “FBI agent” advised the victim that someone had stolen her identity in order to rent a vehicle which was recovered in Texas with drugs and blood found in it. The phony agent further directed the victim that to protect her savings from the thieves who had stolen her social security number and identity, she needed to send her money to others for safekeeping and to pay for a new social security number. The scammer established a rapport with the Suffolk County victim by calling every day to check up on her. The scammer’s efforts ramped up when he told her that there was a “gag order” placed on her, so she would not divulge “confidential information” on an “open investigation.” The scammer also sent her confirmation letters of transactions between the two on counterfeit FBI letterhead. In total, the victim sent the scammer cashier’s checks totaling over $650,000. In December 2022, an Adult Protective Services Investigator from South Bend, Indiana, reached out to a Suffolk County Police Department Financial Crimes Unit detective to alert her that that while Indiana authorities were investigating a phone scammer case, they had obtained the name of the Suffolk County woman, who may have also been a victim. The victim here was initially apprehensive to talk to the Suffolk County detective because she had already been manipulated by the scammer on the phone who warned her the detective may be a con artist. Once the victim confirmed that the detective was a legitimate member of law enforcement, the victim described the elaborate scheme that had led to her sending more $650,000 to the fraudulent “FBI agent.” The District Attorney’s Financial Crimes Bureau prepared a seizure order which seized $115,000 from a South Bend bank account, which represented some of the monies sent by the Suffolk County victim. Those funds were returned to the victim. Investigators on this case also learned that the victim had sent a cashier’s check for $25,000 to a location in Queens, New York. 3 After discovering that the package with the check was still in transit, detectives worked in unison with FedEx authorities to intercept that package before it was delivered and returned the $25,000 check to the elderly Suffolk County victim. If you or someone you know may have been a victim of this or any scam, please call the Suffolk County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at 631-852-6821. This matter was handled by Bureau Chief Lucie Kwon and Deputy Bureau Chief Michael McCoy of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s Financial Crimes Bureau, as well as Detective Dena Miceli of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit.