GRANDPARENT PHONE SCAM
Jashua Noboa-Nival Ramon Peguero-Rosario Josiah DeJesus
Yeurys Peguero-Rosario Nelson Rivas-Bello
#1 – Josiah Ashton Dejesus (19 years old) – Bronx, New York
#2 – Jashua Noboa-Nival (19 years old) – Bronx, New York
#3 – Yeurys Peguero-Rosario (22 years old) – Bronx, New York
#4 – Ramon Emilio Peguero-Rosario (18 years old) – Bronx, New York
#5 – Nelson M. Rivas-Bello (26 years old) – Bronx, New York
#1 – Corrupt Organization, Theft by Deception (11 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (11 counts), Receiving Stolen Property (11 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (11 counts), Identity Theft (11 counts)
#2 – Corrupt Organization, Theft by Deception (8 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (8 counts), Receiving Stolen Property (8 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (8 counts), Identity Theft (8 counts), Forgery
#3 – Corrupt Organization, Theft by Deception (5 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (5 counts), Receiving Stolen Property (5 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (5 counts), Identity Theft (5 counts)
#4 – Corrupt Organization, Theft by Deception (4 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (4 counts), Receiving Stolen Property (4 counts) & Criminal Conspiracy (4 counts), Identity Theft (4 counts)
#5 – Corrupt Organization, Theft by Deception & Criminal Conspiracy
DETAILS OF INCIDENT:
On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the Berks County Detective’s Office received a complaint from a 67-year-old male from California, regarding a “Grandparent Phone Scam”.
The victim advised detectives that on Monday, October 5th, he received a phone call from a male who identified himself as the victim’s adult grandson. The victim questioned the caller as the voice did not sound like his grandson. The caller explained that he was in a car accident while driving to a funeral in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The caller stated that he was texting while driving and ran a stop sign, he then hit another vehicle that was occupied by a pregnant female. The caller stated that he was arrested for causing bodily injury to the pregnant female.
The caller asked the grandfather not to call his parents and stated that he has a Public Defender assigned to him and the Public Defender would be contacting him (grandfather).
A few minutes later, a male contacted the victim and identified himself as a Public Defender. The alleged Public Defender advised the victim that his grandson needed $6,800.00 bail money for his court hearing the following day. The Public Defender requested the $6,800.00 in cash as well as a clean t-shirt for his grandson’s court hearing.
The victim was instructed to mail the cash and t-shirt to a Reading address. The victim agreed to this request and sent the package overnight express to the Reading address as directed.
The victim also provided the Public Defender with the overnight FedEx tracking number.
The victim advised detectives that on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, he received another phone call from the alleged Public Defender. The Public Defender advised the victim that the baby died and now his grandson was being charged with manslaughter. The Public Defender stated that he would be receiving a phone call from his boss.
A few minutes later another male called and identified himself as a Public Defender. This second caller requested the victim send another t-shirt, a COVID mask and $5,000.00 in cash overnight to the same Reading address.
The victim agreed to this second request and went to his bank to obtain the $5,000.00 in cash. The victim stated that he contacted his grandson’s parents as well as his grandson. The victim stated he now realized that this was a scam and contacted the Berks County District Attorney’s Detective Unit.
On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the victim agreed to assist detectives, and in doing so he mailed an overnight package to the same Reading address. The victim again provided the overnight tracking number and guaranteed delivery time to the Public Defender.
On Thursday, October 8, 2020, members of the Berks County District Attorney’s Detective Unit and Reading Police, conducted an undercover operation in Reading. During this undercover operation, detectives observed a vehicle approach the Reading address. This vehicle was occupied by three males.
Detectives observed one male exit the vehicle and wait by the Reading address, while the other two males parked around the corner. At approximately 8:29 A.M., the package was delivered, and the male took possession of the package. The male was observed leaving the area and opening the package.
The three males were apprehended and taken to the Berks County District Attorney’s Detective Unit for questioning. The three males identified themselves as the above-named defendants and admitted to being involved in criminal activity.
The defendants were committed to Berks County Jail in lieu of $250,000.00 bail.
Since the initial arrest and filing of criminal charges which occurred back on October 8, 2020, the three defendants who were originally taken into custody, successfully petitioned the Berks County Court of Common Pleas for a bail reduction. Bail was reduced to $50,000.00 and each defendant subsequently posted bail and was released from Berks County Jail. (Jashua, Yeurys & Ramon)
This investigation, appropriately titled “Grandparent Phone Scam”, targeted and preyed upon grandparents, who were financially exploited over the telephone by the defendants, who are all residents of Bronx, New York.
The defendant’s modus operandi and scheme involved the following:
An unsuspecting grandparent would receive a telephone call from a male or female, pretending to be a grandchild. The caller states that he/she is in trouble, and reports there has been an accident, and he/she is in jail, a hospital or stuck in a foreign country, and “I need your help.”
The “distraught” caller provides specific details about the emergency, which is not only persuasive, but also appears credible to the grandparent. The grandparent is convinced that the caller is in fact their grandchild and sends the money to a specific location, which is provided by the caller. The delivery method is FedEx or UPS.
The caller would also state “Please, don’t tell mom and dad.”
This six-month investigation has been extremely labor intensive and involved the collection and processing of physical evidence which was originally seized back in October 2020. Additionally, the Berks County Detectives obtained numerous Search Warrants for various records which were carefully reviewed and analyzed and lead to the identification of additional victims who fell prey to this reprehensible scam.
Subsequently, detectives identified eleven different victims from nine different states. These cases involve money being delivered to various locations within Berks County:
#1 – Victim from Eugene, Oregon, sent $4,400.00 cash to Chestnut St. (1200 block)
#2 – Victim from Bay Minette, Alabama, sent $15,000.00 cash to Mulberry St. (1200 block)
#3 – Victim from Honolulu, Hawaii, sent $10,000.00 cash to Fairview Ave. (2200 block)
#4 – Victim from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, sent $3,750.00 cash to S. 13th St. (500 block)
#5 – Victim from Salt Lake City, Utah, sent $6,500.00 cash to Cotton St. (1500 block)
#6 – Victim from Miami, Florida, sent $5,000.00 cash to Mayberry Ave. (200 block)
#7 – Victim from Felda, Florida, sent $60,300.00 cash to Buttonwood St. (1300 block)
#8 – Victim from Henderson, Nevada, sent $7,500.00 cash to Elm St. (100 block)
#9 – Victim from Phoenix, Arizona, sent $3,000.00 cash to Douglass St. (900 block)
#10 – Victim from Sacramento, California, sent $9,000.00 cash to N. 9th St. (700 block)
#11 – Victim from Carmichael, California, sent $7,800.00 cash to Walnut St. (100 block)
The total financial loss is approx. $132,250.00 in cash.
In addition to the above listed Berks County cases, the detectives identified an additional fifteen victims, from thirteen states, totaling approx. $110,930.00 in cash, and included a firearm in lieu of cash. These cases have been referred to other Law Enforcement agencies and Police Departments having jurisdiction, since they occurred outside Berks County.
On Friday, March 12, 2021, the Berks County Detectives filed criminal charges against the five defendants at Magisterial District Judge Alvin Robinson’s Office.
M.D.J. Robinson issued arrest warrants for the defendants.
On Monday, March 15, 2021, (#2) Jashua Noboa-Nival was taken into custody at the Berks County Services Center, and he was immediately escorted down to the Central Processing Center and released into the custody of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department.
The Preliminary Arraignment was held via video by Magisterial District Judge Tonya Butler, who set bail at $20,000.00. The defendant was released after posting bail pending his Preliminary Hearing which will be held at a later date.
On Thursday, April 15, 2021, at approx. 6:00 A.M., the United States Marshal’s Service apprehended (#1) Josiah Dejesus, (#4) Ramon Peguero-Rosario and (#5) Nelson Rivas-Bello, at their Bronx, New York, residence. They were taken into custody and remain incarcerated at the Eric M. Taylor Center located in East Elmhurst, New York.
These three defendants have waived formal extradition and will be returned to Berks County, Pennsylvania, for criminal prosecution.
On Friday, April 16, 2021, (#3) Yeurys Peguero-Rosario surrendered by reporting to the Central Processing Center and was taken into custody by the Berks County Sheriff’s Department. He was fingerprinted and photographed.
A Preliminary Arraignment was held via video. Bail was set at $50,000.00 and this defendant was committed to Berks County Jail pending a Preliminary Hearing which will be held at a later date.
As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation, and all five defendants, are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.