Attorney for man accused in ‘Grandparent Scam’ wants bail set | #phishing | #scams

The attorney for one of four men arrested last week in connection with a so-called “Grandparent Scam” wants a judge to set bail for his client.

Attorney Samir Sarna said in court filings that Roderick E. Feurtado, 54, of Las Vegas, has legitimate employment as a network marketing specialist and is the sole provider for his wife and children in Nevada. He was denied bail during his arraignment Thursday because District Judge Joseph DeMarchis deemed him a flight risk, according to court papers.

“Though Mr. Feurtado is not domiciled in this jurisdiction, Mr. Feurtado has not displayed any behaviors that suggest he would not be willing to appear to face the charges against him,” Sarna wrote in the filing.

Feurtado and three others are charged with corrupt organization, theft, conspiracy and related charges. State police said they ran the “Grandparent Scam” that bilked at least $250,000 from 10 senior citizens in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties over a few days last week.

Allegheny County senior citizens were targeted in Bethel Park, Canton Township, North Fayette and Upper St. Clair; two were in White Oak and three in Pittsburgh. The two seniors from Westmoreland lived in Hempfield and Unity. Police say all of them thought they were providing cash to couriers to bail relatives out of jail.

Troopers said the senior citizens received phone calls claiming that a relative was in jail and needed money to make bail. The caller instructed the seniors that a bail bondsman would come to their house to pick up the cash. Police thwarted the scam by staking out a home and catching one of the suspects posing as a bail bondsman.

The others were arrested at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott and the Hyatt Place Pittsburgh Airport hotels, police said.

Feurtado had a shoebox containing $220,000 cash inside his room at the Marriott, which he told authorities was collected from the schemes, according to court papers.

Sarna said in the filing that Feurtado intends to attend all future court proceedings if released from custody.

“To hold that an individual is a flight risk and unworthy of bail simply because they are not residents of the jurisdiction in which they are charged would discriminate against all non-residents of Pennsylvania,” he wrote.

A hearing has not been set on the bail matter. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 14. Feurtado is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, or via Twitter .

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