BARNEGAT, NJ - A Florida man faces charges in New Jersey for duping a Barnegat Township senior citizen of $10K and attempting to scam him for additional funds..Juan C. Piedrahita, 49, of Hollywood, Florida is accused of violating the criminal portion of New Jersey law that deals with Theft by Deception.
In a joint press release issued by the Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Barnegat Township Police Chief Keith A. Germain, authorities announced that Piedrahita remains at large. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone knowing of the subject's whereabouts should contact Detective James Purcell of the Barnegat Township Police Department at 609-698-5000, extension 262.
Police report that Piedrahita allegedly called the older Barnegat man on the telephone.. He pretended to be an attorney and informed the victim that his nephew was in trouble with the police after a motor vehicle accident. Piedrahita advised the elderly gentleman that the nephew needed $10K in bail money.
Following instructions believed to be given by Piedrahita, the victim met someone at CVS in Barnegat. The senior believed he was turning over the cash to a courier. Authorities suspect it was Piedrahita, now posing a courier.
After dropping off the money at CVS, Piedrahita is believed to have contacted the victim for an additional $10K. Bank authorities questioned the Barnegat senior as they suspected something was wrong. Upon contacting his nephew, the Barnegat man learned his nephew was fine and not in any trouble.
Detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage of the area surrounding the CVS parking lot, which captured the rental vehicle Piedrahita had rented at Newark International Airport, and were thereafter able to confirm Piedrahita’s identity based on that footage.
The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.