FOX 17, March 16, 2023
Two suspects from the West Palm Beach, Florida area have been arrested for fraud in Muskegon County.
According to the Muskegon County Sheriff, an elderly woman in Blue Lake Township was contacted on March 13 by an individual who identified himself as her grandson, which she believed. He told her that he was incarcerated after being involved in a car crash, and that he needed $9,000 to bond out of jail.
Later that day, she received a phone call from another individual who said he was her grandson’s lawyer. He told her that he would meet her at her residence to pick up the $9,000. After she got the money and returned home, she was met by the man who claimed to be her grandson’s lawyer, and gave him the $9,000.
On March 14, the elderly woman was contacted by someone who claimed to be the judge presiding over her grandson’s case. He told her that the other person involved in her grandson’s car crash had died, and that State Farm Insurance was asking for $25,000 to settle the matter out of court. When she told him that she didn’t have that much money, the two agreed on $18,000. She was instructed to mail the money through UPS to an address in Atlanta, Georgia, which she did.
After she mailed the money, the elderly woman became suspicious of the situation. On March 15, she contacted law enforcement about the situation. After taking the initial report, the investigating deputy instructed her to contact UPS and request the shipment be returned. The deputy later responded to the UPS Store, verified the victim contacted UPS, and ensured the package was being returned.
On March 16, a trooper from the Michigan State Police Grand Rapids post was dispatched to a residence in Cedar Creek Township for a fraud complaint. The situation was similar to the complaint from the elderly woman in Blue Lake Township.
Detectives assigned to the Safe Seniors Task Force were contacted and responded to the residence to assist in the investigation. In cooperation with detectives, the victim complied with the request of the offenders. The offenders later arrived at the residence to retrieve what they believed was $25,000 in cash. However, one suspect was taken into custody at the residence. Another was located in a rental car that was parked a short distance away and taken into custody.
A third victim in Sullivan Township is believed to have been contacted by the same individuals on March 15. However, the victim did not fall for the scam. It is hoped that phone communications will tie that complaint with the other two.
The two suspects are incarcerated in the Muskegon County Jail. It is currently unknown if any additional suspects are in the West Michigan area.