Middletown woman target in phone scam | #phishing | #scams

MIDDLETOWN — City police say a Hartford woman has been charged for her alleged role in a telephone fraud scheme involving a Middletown resident.

Middletown police said a city resident reported on Friday she received a call from a man who identified himself as “Public Defender Sandburg,” who told the woman her nephew was arrested following a car accident and was being detained by Cheshire police.

The victim spoke with a person who claimed to be the relative, the report says, who told her “Sandburg” could be trusted, but he needed $9,500 to make bail.

“The male stated he sounded different because of the accident,” according to police.

She called the phone number for “Sandburg,” but was given another number to reach his private line, the report said. When she spoke with “Sandburg,” he told her a judge agreed to handle the case since he was a “first-time offender, to keep his record clean,” but she still had to pay the $9,500 to get him out of jail, the report stated.

She was told to put the cash in a bubble-protected envelope, the report stated.

“The resident was also told that her nephew needed a new T-shirt because he was injured in the accident and his shirt was bloody,” the police report said.

The resident put the cash and shirt in the envelope, and gave it to a woman who showed up in a car at her house, the report stated. That’s when the victim suspected she was being scammed, police said, so she contacted relatives and found out her nephew was not in jail.

While officers were at the house, the victim received another call from the “public defender” asking for $18,000, but the woman negotiated it down to $10,000, the report said.

The suspect told her to place the cash in an envelope and label it “first offender program,” the report said.

Another woman in a different car shortly afterward, police said. Emely Guzman-Hernandez, of Hartford, told detectives she received a call from a friend who asked if she could pick up money from his “aunt’s house.”

Guzman-Hernandez was arrested and charged with criminal attempt to commit second-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny. She is being held in lieu of a $150,000 bond, and is expected back in state Superior Court at Middletown Aug. 24.

Officers do not have a good description of the first suspect, according to Middletown Police Lt. Brian Hubbs, who said the investigation is ongoing.

Police are alerting the public about this arrest, saying it’s a common tactic used for telephone fraud schemes.

“This can involve an intricate network of people and typically involves targeting the elderly with the intent to take money from them,” the release said.

Anyone who receives suspicious calls can call their local police department. Middletown police can be reached at 860-638-4000.

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