Suspects arrested in Western New York elderly bail scam

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Two suspects were arrested Thursday in connection with a scam targeting elderly victims in Western New York. Investigators say the suspects stole or attempted to steal a total of $106,400 through the scam since March 22.

“Every year, we seem to have a different scam going on. This one is really concerning,” said Sgt. CJ  Zimmerman, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the scam would begin with a victim getting a phone call from someone claiming to be a relative in need of bail money. Another person claiming to be an attorney or police officer would join the call, telling the victim to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash to get their relative out of jail. What happens next is worrying to Segerant Zimmerman.

“This is where the scam is especially concerning, and we haven’t seen this before. They are sending a physically person to the house, a courier we’re calling them, to pick up the money,” said Sgt. Zimmerman.

Investigators say elderly victims would be targeted multiple times before they figured out they were being scammed.

The sheriff’s office says investigators learned about a scam in progress this month, and carried out surveillance at a would-be victim’s home on Thursday. They say two suspects showed up at the home, expecting to receive $13,500 in cash from the victim. Instead, the suspects were confronted by police.

Investigators say Jamel Aciego, 18, resisted arrest before being taken into custody. They say Victor Lopez, 20, fled in a vehicle, ran through a stop sign, and crashed into a swamp near Fellows Road at Penfield Road. He was treated for minor injuries at Strong Memorial Hospital, then taken into custody.

The men were arraigned before a judge, issued appearance tickets, and released, something Sgt. Zimmerman says should not have happened.

“Because of bail reform they got released, if this would have happened before bail reform they would have not been released, they would have been locked up,” said Sgt. Zimmerman.

The sergeant says thankful that nothing has happened up to this point, but he is concerned moving forward.

“My hope is that everybody in this community starts talking to their relatives friends or family.” said Sgt. Zimmerman. “You may think oh my mom wouldn’t fall for that scam however, it’s not just the elderly everybody could be duped.”

Aciego and Lopez have been charged with Attempted Grand Larceny and Conspiracy. Police say both are from Miami, Florida and are likely to be behind a spate of similar scams in Genesee and Erie counties.

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