"Granny Scammer" Conned Widow Out of $30K: Police

The suspect allegedly told the woman that he was stuck in a Mexican prison

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Seal Beach Police Department
    Daniel Marcotte, of Montreal, is accused of a so-called "Grandma I'm in Jail" scam on a Southern California widow.

    A man who allegedly called an 86-year-old woman in Southern California claiming to be her grandson locked up in a Mexican lockup scammed her out of $30,000, police said.

    Daniel Marcotte, 30, of Montreal, was being extradited to Orange County, Seal Beach police said. He was arrested after an international manhunt, Seal Beach police said.

    Marcotte allegedly called the widow in February 2013 claiming to be the victim’s grandson. He said he was in a Mexican jail and needed $15,000 dollars in cash sent to "Matthew Jones" at a New York address, police said.

    Two days later, Marcotte allegedly called the victim again saying he needed an additional $15,000. She sent the money both times but became suspicious after the second call and contacted the Seal Beach police, police said.

    "A lot of these telephone frauds are hard to track down because you don’t have any leads to what they look like," Sgt. Philip Gonshak of the Seal Beach Police Department told the Associated Press.

    Gonshak said there were other victims but that they don’t know how many.

    After the widow sent the money, Marcotte picked it up himself from a New York Fed Ex business center, Gonshak said. He was caught on surveillance camera, which was used by officials to identify him.

    "Because the suspect went to go pick up the money himself, this was one of the few success stories where we were able to identify him," Gonshak said.

    Marcotte was arrested last September in Montreal. His defense was trying to fight extradition while Marcotte was in custody but it was waived, Gonshak said.

    It wasn’t immediately clear if Marcotte, who has yet to be formally charged in Orange County, had retained a U.S. attorney.

    "Our senior residents are vulnerable to such scams and it is a community wide responsibility to protect them from victimization," said Joe Stilinovich, Seal Beach Police chief.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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