MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Bronx man was arraigned on a grand jury indictment today for allegedly scamming an elderly Oceanside woman out of $45,000 in one day.
Frederik Regalado, 23, was arraigned today before Judge Meryl Berkowitz on three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony). Bail was continued at $600,000 bond or $300,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court April 4. If convicted of the top count, he faces 2-1/3 years to seven years in prison.
“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,” DA 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.”
DA Singas said that on December 3, 2018, at approximately 11:00 am, the victim, an 81-year-old woman residing in Oceanside, received the first of three scam phone calls, made by an unknown individual.
In the first call, a caller allegedly stated that the victim’s son was in a car crash and placed under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated in Manhattan. The caller told the victim that she needed to send $7,500 to bail her son out of jail and that a courier would pick up the money from her house. The defendant, allegedly pretended to be the courier, and arrived at the victim’s home at approximately 1:00 pm and collected $7,500 in cash.
Two hours later, at approximately 3:00 p.m., a person called the Oceanside woman again and said that a judge raised the amount of bail because the person that was “struck” by the victim’s son was pregnant, and the car crash caused the woman to lose the fetus. The defendant then allegedly returned to the victim’s home and collected another $7,500 in cash.
The victim received a third scam phone call that day at approximately 5:00 p.m. and the caller stated that woman had to send an additional $30,000 to pay for medical bills that were related to the car crash. The defendant allegedly went back to the victim’s house a third time and collected an additional $30,000 from the victim.
A few minutes after the third exchange, the victim’s son called his mother. It was at this point that the victim realized that her son was not in jail. Throughout the day, a total of $45,000 in cash was stolen from the victim.
After each cash pickup, the defendant allegedly dropped off the money to an unknown individual.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a phone scam, please contact the NCDA’s Tip Line at 516-571-7755.
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Davidman and Stephanie Hernan of DA Singas’ County Court Trial Bureau are prosecuting this case. Colleen Baktis, Esq. of the Legal Aid Society represents the defendant.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.
Tips to avoid becoming the victim of a Grandparent Scam or Phone Scam:
- You should be wary anytime someone calls claiming your grandchild has been arrested or was in a car accident and asks you to wire them money.
- Ask questions that are difficult to answer, like what is the name of a person’s pet or what is their mother’s date of birth.
- Immediately call your grandchild and other family to verify whether there is a true emergency before you wire any money.
- If you do receive a call, take the caller’s return phone number and the phone number on the caller ID.
- Avoid putting personal information, like vacation or other travel plans, on social media sites.
- Grandparent Scam calls often come during school breaks and during the summer, times when a grandparent would believe a grandchild is traveling
- If you’ve been scammed, contact the money transfer service immediately to report the scam. The money can be retrieved if it has not been picked up yet.