NEWS

Canadian Women Charged In U.S. 'Grandparent Scam'

01/13/2016 05:07 EST | Updated 01/13/2017 05:12 EST
ALBANY, N.Y. — Four Canadian women have been arrested and charged in the United States amid allegations they were part of an organized criminal operation that targeted the elderly using a well-known ruse dubbed the grandparent scam, New York state police say.

According to police, the scammers out of Laval, Que., would contact a senior by phone or email and identify themselves as the person's grandchild.

"He indicates that he has been arrested in another state and needs money quickly to pay for bail," police said in a statement.

"He advises that the grandparent cannot tell his parents because he doesn't want to upset them."

"He indicates that he has been arrested in another state and needs money quickly to pay for bail."

A second person then gets on the phone and identifies himself as a police officer, who advises the mark where and how to send the bail cash. The officer also warns the grandparent against talking or giving information to any another agency that might contact them.

Earlier this month, police said four people travelled to Albany from Laval to pick up money packages related to the scam. The suspects picked up the cash packages at a UPS store, or had a legitimate courier pick up the package and deliver it to them at a hotel.

Police identified those arrested as Christina Antonkakis, 29, Sophia Mikelakis, 57, Nora Apkarian, 42, and Anahid Apkarian, 61, all of Laval. They all face charges of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Antonkakis and Mikelakis are also charged with 3rd degree attempted grand larceny.

The investigation into the operation was ongoing and investigators urged anyone who might have been a victim to contact New York state police.

They did not say how much money was allegedly scammed.