By: Yuritza Arroyo
Passaic County authorities took two men into custody after the pair allegedly attempted to scam elderly residents on the phone.
According to Wayne Police, the police department received a call from the adult child of two elderly Wayne residents reporting that her parents were currently at the bank to withdraw funds to provide to a scammer.
Wayne Police said the caller stated that her parents were currently on the phone with the scammer and were planning to go back to their home in order for cash to be picked up by an “attorney” to provide bail for their grandchild, who had allegedly been involved in a car accident in New York City where a pregnant woman was involved and lost her baby.
According to the caller, her parents had already provided a significant amount of cash to this caller via two previous pickups earlier in the day and they were kept on the phone in order for this scam to continue undetected by family or law enforcement.
Wayne Police Detectives and their Patrol Division responded to the area of the home and set up surveillance in an attempt to apprehend the suspect that would arrive at the home to retrieve the money.
According to officials, a member of the Detective Bureau met the family in the home to ensure their safety and to provide direction on how to handle the conversation with the scammer.
Officials say, the scammer provided directions to place the money in an envelope and leave it in the mailbox of the home so that it could be retrieved by a courier.
Hours later, a BMW SUV bearing New York license plates and dark, tinted windows arrived in front of the residence and stayed parked on the street.
Police say, a short time later, a male exited the passenger side of the suspect vehicle and walked directly to the mailbox and retrieved the envelope placed by the victim.
At this time, officers involved in the operation converged on the scene and took the driver, Mr. Ernis Nusevic, and passenger, Mr. Lenny Gomez, into custody.
Arrested were: Mr. Ernis Nusevic (age 18, Yonkers, New York) and Mr. Lenny Gomez (age 26, Bronx, New York). Both were charged with Conspiracy and Criminal Attempt to commit Theft by Deception, both crimes of the 3rd degree.
They were both later released from the Wayne Police Department with summonses to appear at the Passaic County Superior Court at a later date.
Officials say, the Wayne Police Department would like to warn residents that this “Grandparent Bail Scam” is a common phone scam where callers will advise a victim that a loved one was involved in some legal trouble and that they need to provide cash for bail for this person.
This scam frequently targets elderly residents who are particularly vulnerable and trusting of the callers.
According to police, if any person is called by someone claiming to be a judge, prosecutor, attorney, or bail bondsman who states that a family member has been arrested, take the time to independently verify this information.
The information can be verified by calling that person or another family member directly before providing any information or money.
A primary activity of the scam is to keep the victim on the phone for the entire time, up until the money is pickup up, in order to ensure that the victim is not advising any family or law enforcement of the scam.
Immediately call the local police department if you believe that you or a family member has been, or is currently being, victimized by this scam.