ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Police arrested in three people in connection with a nationwide investigation into a so-called “grandparent scam.”
Detectives received a tip late last month that a package containing thousands of dollars in cash was en route to Attleboro.
Investigators were able to intercept that package and return it to the victim, who lives in San Diego, California.
Police later identified a second victim, this time out of Conrow, Texas, who also sent a package containing a significant amount of cash to an address in Attleboro.
In an effort to track down the suspects, investigators asked the victim to comply with their requests for more money.
The address the scammers provided the victim was traced back to a vacant home in Attleboro, according to police.
Investigators worked in tandem with a shipping company to deliver a “controlled package” to the address on Tuesday.
Police said within minutes of the delivery, a man later identified as 23-year-old Ransel Starlin Tavares Jiminez, pulled up and collected the package from the front doorstep.
Tavares Jiminez, of Bronx, New York, was immediately taken into custody and charged with receiving stolen property and attempting to commit larceny of over $1,200.
The package Tavares Jiminez picked up, however, was not the one detectives sent to the residence. Instead, it was traced back to another victim who lives in Panorama, Texas.
When the decoy package was delivered roughly an hour later, detectives saw two women pull up in front of the home.
Police said the woman in the passenger’s seat hopped out of the car and grabbed the package while the driver waited inside the car.
The woman who collected the package, identified by police as 55-year-old Rosa Maria Burgos Liz, was immediately taken into custody.
Police said the driver, identified as 46-year-old Raquel Julissa Mata Liz, attempted to take off but was arrested a short time later.
The women, both of Dorchester, have been charged with attempting to receive stolen property.
The suspects were sent to pick up the packages by other participants in the scam, according to investigators, who would call the victims and claim one of their relatives was in trouble.
The scammers would then demand bail money for that relative and pressure the victim to send them a cash-filled package.
Investigators later learned that Tavares Jiminez did not know either of the women, though all three of them were participating in the same scam.
In total, detectives were able to recover roughly $19,000 in cash for the elderly victims.
Tavares Jiminez, Burgos Liz and Mata Liz all pleaded not guilty during their arraignments Wednesday.