FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Bronx Man Indicted for Alleged Grandparent “Bail” Scam
Allegedly Participated in Scheme That Claimed Victims’ Grandchildren Had Been
Arrested and Needed to be Bailed Out; Collected Cash from Victims via Courier
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Bronx man has been indicted for allegedly scamming eight senior citizens out of thousands of dollars through his role coordinating a scheme in which the victims were falsely told that a grandchild of theirs had been arrested and needed cash to be bailed out of jail. The defendant then allegedly sent a courier to the victims’ homes to collect the cash.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am committed to protecting our senior citizen community from scams and fraudsters who seek to take advantage and prey on them. We should all be aware of bail scams like the one this defendant was allegedly part of and be wary of any phone calls from strangers asking for cash. Never agree to turn over money without contacting your grandchild, their parent or another relative to determine if they are safe, and report any suspicious solicitation to law enforcement.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Rosario Mendez, 24, of the Bronx. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 10-count indictment in which he is charged with seven counts of third-degree grand larceny, one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, one count of third-degree attempted grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on February 26, 2021.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March 15, 2019 and May 18, 2020, the defendant allegedly participated in a grandparent bail scheme that targeted at least eight victims – three grandfathers and five grandmothers – between the ages of 74 and 90. The victims lived across Brooklyn, including in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Clinton Hill, Bushwick, Brownsville and Marine Park. One victim lived in the Bronx. The victims each lost between $3,000 and nearly $20,000 as a result of the scheme.
It is alleged that in each case the victim received a phone call from an individual purporting to be an attorney and claiming that the victim’s grandchild was arrested and being held in jail. The victim was told to provide cash in an envelope to bail out the grandchild and that a messenger working for the attorney would come to the victim’s home to pick up the envelope. It is alleged that the defendant, who allegedly worked as a dispatcher, then sent a courier to pick up the envelope and deliver it to the defendant.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Nathan Cavada of the Brooklyn North Grand Larceny Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Elliot Wertheim, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.