This week I wanted to share some good news with you about a fraud case. One of the more common crimes reported to us is the phone or internet scam. They are low risk crimes for the suspect because it is nearly impossible for a local police department to investigate or make arrests based on the national or even international scope of the crime. It’s also pretty rare when we can do anything to help a victim recover their losses in these scams, which is what makes this case so special.
In January, one of our newest officers, Tim Gooler, met with an 87 year old woman who had been victimized in a phone scam. Someone claiming to be an attorney had called her and told her that her grandson had been arrested in a foreign country. The caller told her he would be released if she provided money for bail and legal fees. Our victim withdrew over $44,000 and sent the money to the con artists in the other nation. The victim eventually realized her grandson was not overseas or in jail and called us.
Despite the fact that Tim has been a police officer for a less than a year, he did a detective level investigation. He couldn’t make any arrests in the case, but he got the tracking numbers for the three shipments the victim had made to the foreign country. One of the shipments had gone out that same day, so Tim called the shipping company’s fraud department. The company was able to intercept the last shipment of $20,000 even though it had already been sent out of the country. Two weeks later the victim was able to recover the $20,000 from that final shipment.
Tim’s work didn’t end with helping the woman get some of her money back. He also ensured she was able to care for herself and that her friends and family were able to help her. He notified Adult Protective Services of his investigation and worked with the victim’s bank to help protect her from future fraud attempts by flagging her account to look for large withdrawals.
Nice job Tim. It’s unfortunate that the woman in this case lost a great deal of money, but her situation would have been worse if not for your efforts. I can’t remember the last time I heard of someone getting any of their money back in this type of scam. You’ve represented your department and your profession well, and we’re proud to work with you.
Captain Craig Schwartz