Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office PRESS RELEASE
TO: ALL NEWS MEDIA FROM: PROSECUTOR MARK MUSELLA DATE: MARCH 13, 2020 CONTACT: AP ELIZABETH REBEIN (201) 226-5660 [OFFICE]
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER (201) 509-1676 [CELL]
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BERGEN COUNTY, NJ - Three individuals were arrested for allegedly perpetrating a scam on grandparents with phone calls stating their grandchildren were being held on criminal charges and need bail money to get out of jail.
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the arrests of Corey Eastman, 27, single and unemployed, of Pennsauken, NJ; Devon Ortiz, 28, single and unemployed, of Philadelphia, PA; and Julia Montgomery, 26, single and unemployed, of Pennsauken, NJ on charges of conspiracy to commit impersonation/identity theft, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, and conspiracy to commit financial facilitation of criminal activity.
Ortiz was additionally charged with resisting arrest, Musella reported.
The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Tenafly Police Department.
The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office released the following report:
Beginning in February 2020, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Squad received multiple reports of elderly individuals who had been victims of a “Grandparent Scam.” Dozens of elderly victims in Bergen County and throughout the State of New Jersey were contacted by a male caller who stated that the elderly victim’s grandchild had been arrested on a number of criminal charges and needed bail money to get out of jail. The caller would request the victims to retrieve cash in amounts ranging from $6,500 to $29,000. Once a victim acknowledged having the money and indicated a willingness to pay, the caller would keep the victim on the telephone until a courier responded and retrieved the money.
On March 11, 2020, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office was alerted that an elderly female resident of Tenafly had been contacted by a male caller who identified himself as an agent of the court. The caller claimed that her grandson had been arrested for driving while impaired in Pennsylvania and needed $8,400 for bail.
[All three alleged perpetrators] were arrested by law enforcement as they arrived at the location at which they had arranged to retrieve the bail money.
Prosecutor Mark Musella stated: “We are committed to protecting the residents of Bergen County, particularly our seniors, from individuals who are preying on their vulnerability. We urge everyone to pause and enlist help before responding to an urgent demand for money. Consult a family member or call your local police department if you are being pressured to pay. Ask questions and know that courts and other legitimate entities will not direct you to pay using gift cards or cash.”
He further stated that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.