May 26th, 2024

Police lay charges after officers arrest fraudster

By Lethbridge Herald on April 18, 2024.

Lethbridge police have charged a 41-year-old male with fraud after he was apprehended attempting to collect money from a senior citizen targeted in a grandparent scam.
LPS said in a news release Wednesday that on Monday members of the Crime Suppression Team responded to a report of a fraud after a 75-year-old woman was victimized in a grandparent scam.
The victim had previously been contacted by a male posing as a lawyer who claimed her grandson had been involved in a collision, was arrested and required money for bail. The fake lawyer advised he would send someone to collect the money and instructed the victim to write an alphanumeric code on the envelope.
She subsequently provided $3,400 cash to a male who attended her home. While the male was still at the victim’s residence, she received a second call from the fake lawyer advising the initial sum would not be enough and he would contact her again to obtain more funds. While the fake lawyer directed the victim not to discuss the matter with anyone, she contacted a family member who confirmed her grandson was not in any trouble and called police.
While police were on scene, the victim received another call advising someone would be coming back to her home to obtain the additional funds. A male arrived at the victim’s home a short time later to collect the cash and was arrested without incident. The male’s vehicle was located nearby and seized. Following further investigation it was determined he was staying at a local motel and search warrants were subsequently obtained and executed on the vehicle and motel room. Police recovered a portion of the cash the victim had provided after bills in the same denominations were located in the motel room.
Police believe the male, who does not reside in Lethbridge, attended the city to engage in fraudulent activity.
The investigation is ongoing to identify and locate additional subjects.
Dimitar Stamatov, 41, of Vermilion, is charged with fraud under $5,000, attempted fraud over $5,000 and false pretenses. Following a Judicial Interim Release hearing, Stamatov was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court May 14.
Police believe there may be additional victims and are asking anyone who has experienced similar circumstances to come forward. Call 403-328-4444 if you believe you have been victimized in a grandparent scam or any other fraud.
Lethbridge police commended the victim for contacting a family member despite being instructed not to speak to anyone about the matter.
LPS is advising citizens to be aware of the grandparent scam and encouraging residents to talk with their older relatives about what to do if they receive a scam call.
Always verify the caller’s identity and the legitimacy of their story, say police. Call the grandchild directly and if they can’t be reached, contact their parents, siblings or another relative who can help verify the story
If a caller claims to be a police officer, lawyer, judge or other official call the police station or courthouse directly to confirm their identity and the legitimacy of the call
Do not use any phone numbers or other contact details provided by the caller to try and verify information
Do not provide money, gift cards, bitcoin or any other form of payment to someone you do not know
Bail is always paid in person at the police station, courthouse or correctional centre and receipt of payment is provided. Police and court officials will never attend someone’s home to pick-up cash
Never disclose any personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know.

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