SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to 21 counts in connection with a scam involving seniors on outstanding Amazon balances.
The Hampden District Attorney’s Office is warning the public of the latest scam after 35-year-old Rahul Alam of Voorhees, New Jersy pleaded guilty on September 15th to the following charges:
- Attempt to commit a crime (3 counts)
- Larceny more than $1,200.00 (single scheme & false pretense, victim over 60 years or disabled (2 counts)
- Larceny over $1,200.00 (by false pretense) (4 counts)
- Larceny more than $250 (single scheme & false pretense, victim over 60 years or disabled) (4 counts)
- Larceny more than $250 (by false pretense, victim over 60 years or disabled) (8 counts)
The DA’s office says an investigation began when victims reported fraud in a total of $69,404 to the Westfield Police. The scheme began when a victim received an email that appeared to be from Amazon about a small outstanding balance. When the victim called the number to cancel an Amazon Prime membership provided in the email, the person claiming to be with Amazon then obtained personal information, including their name, phone number, and address, then told the victim they owed more money.
The victims began meeting with Rahul Alam after relentless calls to pay off the fake debt owed to Amazon. Westfield detectives arranged to be present at the next scheduled meet-up with the victims and identified Alam.
The investigation revealed that Alam was working with people overseas in Bangladesh and would drive around the country to pick up payments from unsuspecting victims and transfer the money out of the country.
During an “unagreed” plea hearing in Superior Court, Alam was sentenced in Superior Court to two and a half years in state prison, followed by 3 years of probation with the following conditions:
- Stay away and have no contact with the victims
- Stay away from the victim’s address
- Pay $68,504 restitution to the victims ($900 was already forfeited)
- Seek and maintain employment with verification to the Office of Probation
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “I thank both victims, who are in their 80s, for their bravery and moxie, which will prevent others from falling victim to this perpetrator. I would like to thank the Westfield Police Department for their investigation, as well as, Elder Abuse Unit Assistant District Attorney Nina Vivenzio for her skillful prosecution. We will continue to aggressively prosecute and hold accountable those who victimize vulnerable people and our senior citizens.” The District Attorney went on to say, “Scammers can be very pushy to create a sense of urgency and panic. When confronted with such situations, do not act in haste or alone. You should always verify who you are dealing with by stopping the conversation to consult a family member, friend, or to call your local police department before providing any personal information or money.”