Ajax woman arrested in Toronto grandparent scam, the fifth arrest since December

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Published March 31, 2022 at 11:01 am

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Toronto Police have made their fifth arrest since December in connection to an ongoing rash of “grandparent scams” of alleged fraudsters targeting the city’s elderly.

On this fifth occurrence, two people were contacted in as many days by a scammer pretending to be their grandchild in trouble with the law.

The first victim, a 78-year-old woman, was called on March 24. The voice on the other end of the phone claimed to be the woman’s grandson and insisted he was in police custody.

The phone was passed to another man playing the role of police officer, who demanded bail money to release the grandson. The victim went to their bank and withdrew the funds. Shortly thereafter a woman showed up at the victim’s door and took the cash.

The same day, in the same circumstance, an 83-year-old man was targeted in the same way. He was called by a man claiming to be a grandson in custody. A professed police officer demanded bail. The victim pulled out cash, later collected by a woman.

The next day, March 25, the 83-year-old was again contacted by the scammers. This time they insisted there was an issue with the previously collected bail money.

A woman was later arrested when she arrived at the 83-year-old’s home, allegedly, to collect the funds.

Michelle Jordan, 19 of Ajax, is charged with three counts of fraud over $5000 and three counts of possession of proceeds obtained by crime over $5000.

This is the fifth arrest Toronto Police have made since December connected to these kinds of grandparent scams out of the more than 100 instances since March 2021. Police estimate these incidents have siphoned $1.1 million from Toronto’s seniors.

In each of the last five arrests, the scam went down the same way as the March 24-25 incidents. Police advise, “Law enforcement officials will never contact family members and request money for bail or send someone to their home to pick up money.”

Police warn residents to never withdraw money after pressure from a “frantic” phone call, never send e-transfers of gift cards and to alway clarify with family or police.

Toronto Police have arrested four men in since December for alleged grandparent scams.

  1. Firas El-Helou, 21 of Toronto, is charged with two counts of fraud over $5000, and possession of property obtained by crime over $5000.
  2. Ayiinthan Sri Ranjan, 22 of Stouffville, is charged with fraud over $5000.
  3. Ryan Enaya, 26 of Milton, is charged with fraud over $5000.
  4. Nikolaos Antonopoulos, 24 of Quebec, is charged with five counts of fraud over $5000.

Police believe there are more victims.

Durham Police have also dealt with a rash of similar grandparent scams over the last few months. Five incidents were reported to DRPS in September. A Pickering woman, 77, lost $9,000, just weeks after an Ajax woman was defrauded of $27,000.

In December, five attempts were reported on the same day with one success, ripping off another $9,000 from a different victim. Three men were arrested after allegedly defrauding a Durham man, 75, of $30,000 on March 28, and just yesterday DRPS put out a warning of this incidents after an elderly Uxbridge couple lost their entire life savings of $1.2 million.

Information relating to these incidents can be sent to Toronto Police Service at 416-808-7300, or Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520. Information can also be sent to Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

 

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