WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — A man accused of conducting a phone scam where he claimed to be a Westport couple’s son has been let out on bail, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Hector Arias-Guzman, 28, is charged with attempted larceny and conspiracy.
Prosecutors say he tried to scam the couple out of $6,000 for bail, claiming he was at a Boston hospital and being charged with causing a car crash.
The suspect also put a supposed “public defender” on the phone, who demanded the couple send them $25,000 within the hour before lowering the amount several times, according to prosecutors.
The couple immediately reported the incident to police, which led to Arias-Guzman’s arrest in Taunton.
Arias-Guzman was arraigned Tuesday in Fall River District Court. Prosecutors asked that he be held on $25,000 cash bail, the DA’s office said, but Judge Thomas Barrett set his bail at $4,000, which he posted to be released.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III expressed frustration with that decision, calling the bail amount “clearly too low.”
“The defendant entered the country illegally in January and while residing here in Massachusetts is alleged to have used deception and manipulation to steal thousands of dollars from a local couple,” Quinn said. “Given the defendant’s immigration status and lack of connection to the area, he is definitely a flight risk.”
“I commend the victims for realizing this was likely a scam and immediately notifying Westport police,” he continued. “Victims often do not report these types of attempted scams to police. We all need to be very vigilant to the scam artists who are trying to rip off law-abiding citizens of their hard-earned money.”
Quinn, along with New Bedford’s mayor and police chief, recently criticized a different judge’s decision to release an armed robbery suspect who has a lengthy rap sheet, despite calls from prosecutors for a dangerousness hearing.