$3.5 million telemarketing fraud ring busted
For the second time in less than a year, the RCMP have dismantled an alleged telemarketing fraud operation said to have bilked victims through Western Union and Money Gram money transfer outlets based in Montreal.
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#1 May 28, 2009
The following paragraphs describe a scheme where the amount of $27,330 was criminally extorted from an 88 year old widow living alone in a park for the elderly in NH.
The extortion took place by telephone from 17 Oct 2008 to 23 Oct 2008 involving frequent and numerous, harassing and threatening telephone calls.
On Friday, 17 Oct 2008, three individuals contacted the victim by telephone to report a fishing violation said to be committed by her grandson in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She recalls specifically that the terminology they used was “grandson”. She immediately responded with a question asking by name if it was one of her two grandsons.
At first, two individuals were on the phone and gave their names Ralph Worthy and Robert Gray. They said they were calling from the Niagara Falls Police Department. Initially they said the fine was $2900.
Immediately after the two criminals posing as police officers first contacted the victim, they put another individual on the phone posing as her grandson. This impersonator asked
the victim to “wire”$2900 to pay a fine. He also asked that she not tell anyone and specifically not tell her grandson’s father. She recalls that she had trouble hearing him and she admittedly has deteriorated hearing.
The criminals instructed her to take the money out of the bank in NH and “wire”$2900 to her grandson. The Moneygram slip was to indicate the name of her grandson and specify the location as Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. They instructed her, under threat, to copy the Reference Number so that they could later call her back and get the number.
She sent the money on 17 Oct 2008. Moneygram Customer Service at 800-666-3947 later informed her and her son that the money,$2900, was picked up in Pierrefonds, Quebec, Canada at 3:01 p.m. Central Time on 17 Oct 2008. That’s 300 miles by air, a long way from Niagara Falls. Incredibly, Moneygram delivered the money 300 miles distance from the place it was supposed to go.
The criminals called her again on 18 Oct 2008. They explained that more money was needed to extricate her grandson from his legal problems. Her anguish prompted her to send even more money, although this time the criminals directed her to use Western Union. The criminals gave her the names of various locations in the area that had Western Union stands. They told her to send money only in the amount of $2900.
They called persistently over the seven days from 17 Oct 2008 to 23 Oct 2008, each time threatening confinement for her grandson if she didn’t send money.
The location in each case was Niagara Falls and the recipient was her grandson. On some of these receipts, the name is misspelled. It leads any reasonable person to question how, in fact, a proper identification could be guaranteed with a misspelled name as part of the transaction. As a result, there was no identification verified by the Moneygram and Western Union offices on the receiving end.
Since all of the money was sent to the wrong locations, and there was not positive ID executed for the person picking up the money, it’s obvious that Moneygram and Western Union exercised extreme neglect. There is reason to believe that Western Union in Canada in fact is involved in criminal activity.
The criminals persisted with a request for $50,000. They said this was necessary to get her grandson transported across the Canadian US border. They told the victim that they would send FAX to the Bank of America branch in NH on Oct 23 2008.
No FAX had arrived.
The criminals called her twice more at her home on Oct 23rd. The first time she answered and told the criminal that she now knew that her grandson was safe and never had been in Canada.
That contact ended when the criminal disconnected. Five minutes later, one of the criminals called again but would not talk on the phone when the son answered.
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