SEAL BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A man allegedly duped an 86-year-old Seal Beach widow into sending him $30,000.
Maxine, who chose not to reveal her last name, told CBS2’s Stacey Butler that she received a phone call Feb. 18 from a person claiming to be her grandson, Randy.
“This young man said, “Hi, grandma, how are you?’ And I said, ‘Hi, Randy, how are you?’ He said, ‘I’m in trouble.’ He said, ‘I went on a trip with a friend of mine, and I didn’t tell my parents the truth about where I was going, and I don’t want to mention it to anybody,’” she said.
“Randy” told Maxine he had been framed for a drug crime in Mexico and he needed $15,000 to get out of jail and clear his record.
A day later, Maxine sent the cash to a “Matthew Jones” at a New York Fed-Ex store.
“He told me he wanted me to send it by parcel overnight to be there by 8 a.m. the next morning. And he wanted me to put it in a box like a gift,” she said. “He called me the next morning and told me I did a good job.”
On Feb. 20, the suspect called the victim again and said he needed $15,000 more sent to the same address.
“He wanted more. He said the judge wanted another $15,000,” said Maxine.
Maxine went back to the bank, where employees warned her not to send more money. She told Butler she was too convinced by “Randy’s” story and mailed the money.
“I thought I was doing the right thing trying to help my grandson,” she said.
This time, however, she told her financial adviser about the situation, who contacted her family. They then called authorities.
“I want him to get caught…it’s very embarrassing,” she said.
The suspect is described as Caucasian, in his mid- to late-30s, with a medium to heavy build and a distinct goatee beard braided into a “sparrow” style.
The man used a Canadian driver’s license to get the money, according to Sgt. Ron La Velle of the Seal Beach Police Department.
Local police, who have teamed up with detectives in New York, have warned senior citizens to be on alert.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call Det. Mary Martinez at (562) 799-4100, ext. 1110.
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