she was transferred to other "departments" pretending to be her bank
Two men in Florida are facing fraud charges after they allegedly conned an elderly woman by stealing $80,000 from her over the phone.
Parth Patel, aged 33, and Jayarami Kuruguntla, aged 25, were both arrested and booked into the Marion County Jail.
The scam began on May 23, 2023, when the 69-year-old victim received a pop-up message on her iPad, claiming that her bank account was compromised, requesting her to call the provided phone number.
Officers say the fraudulent message was actually from Patel and Kuruguntla.
When she called the number, the woman was told that a $30,000 purchase of child pornography was made in China.
In order to resolve the issue, the scammer told her she needed to pay $30,000.
During the phone call, she was transferred to other “departments” pretending to be her bank, the Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Treasury.
Fearing she would be arrested, the woman withdrew the money from her bank and went to a Bitcoin ATM to transfer the cash to a cryptocurrency account.
But the next day, the scammers contacted her again, demanding an additional $50,000.
She withdrew the cash but refused to go to the ATM because she did not feel safe carrying that much money.
The phone scammer then said someone would come to her house to collect it.
Sometime later, an “Indian male” arrived at her home in a car.
She handed the money to the man inside the car but could only see the side of his face. When the suspect left, the elderly woman reported the incident to police.
The woman said she only gave the money because she was scared she would be killed if she did not.
On May 25, detectives were waiting near the victim’s home and were told that the scammer had called back at around 10 am.
The victim was again requested to withdraw $50,000 and that someone would pick the money up.
A car arrived and parked in front of the woman’s home and the detectives conducted a traffic stop.
The occupants were identified as Kuruguntla and Patel and were taken to the Ocala Police Department.
During questioning, Kuruguntla claimed he didn’t know the purpose of their trip to Ocala and denied any knowledge of picking up money or a package.
Patel initially lied before admitting they were supposed to pick up a package at the victim’s address for a friend in India.
Patel was charged with Organised Fraud ($50,000 or more) and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
Kuruguntla was charged with Larceny ($50,000 or more from someone 65 years old or older) and Fraud-Swindle to obtain property $50,000 or more.
Detectives requested that both men be held in jail with no bond because they may have access to large sums of money due to scamming people and both could be a flight risk.
Despite the requests, Patel was given a $20,000 bond which he posted. Kuruguntla was given a $30,000 bond which he also posted.