Scammers Stung in North Sea

Handcuffed prisoner in jail
Image: 123RF

On December 3, an elderly North Sea couple got a phone call from someone who said their granddaughter had been arrested in Manhattan and was in need of $15,000 in bail money. The good news, the man said, was that though the money was needed promptly, he worked for the court and could arrange for a courier to drive out and receive the cash right away. Could they get the money in three hours?

The couple said yes, would be home at that time, then said goodbye and hung up. Next they called the police.

At the appointed time, with police officers nearby keeping the house under surveillance, a car pulled up, two people got out, walked up the path to the house and knocked on the door. It was opened by a grandpa-type person—actually a plainclothes police officer—who handed one of them a bag with money in it. As the two visitors opened the bag to look, they were told they were under arrest, then handcuffed and given their Miranda rights.

Taken into custody were Steven Lugo, 19, and Angelina Velasco-Ramierez, 19, both from Paterson, New Jersey.

The next morning, in court, they were arraigned and charged with third degree attempted grand larceny, a felony, and fifth degree conspiracy a misdemeanor. Both were then released—this is because of the new more lenient bail reform laws—and told of a later date when they would be expected back in the Southampton Court Room to make a plea.

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