DA’s Office warns public to be vigilant on latest scam
September 20, 2022 -Springfield- Rahul Alam, 35, of Voorhees, NJ, has plead guilty to a 21 count indictment: 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), at a hearing held on Thursday, September 15, 2022 in Hampden Superior Court.
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.”
The investigation began when the victims, who were defrauded a total of $69,404, reported the fraud to the Westfield Police Department. The scheme began when they responded to an email that appeared to be from Amazon about a small outstanding balance. The victim, who wished to cancel an Amazon Prime membership, called the number that was provided in the email. Once contact was made, someone claiming to be with Amazon asked the victim for personal information, that included; name, phone number, and address. The person on the other end of the phone then stated they made a mistake and that the money owed was far greater. Over the course of the next month and after relentless calls by the scammers, the victims began meeting the scammer, Rahul Alam, thinking they were paying off debts they owed to Amazon. After contacting law enforcement, detectives with the Westfield Police Department arranged to be present at a scheduled meet up with the victim. At the meet, detectives apprehended Rahul Alam, who the victims identified as the person they met up with previously to pay off the fake debts.
Rahul Alum was working with people overseas in Bangladesh, and would drive around the country picking up money from unsuspecting victims. He would collect the payments and then pass the money along to be transferred out of the country.
Rahul Alam was sentenced on the same day by a Superior Court Judge, in a unagreed plea hearing, to 2 ½ 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), and seek and maintain employment with verification to the Office of Probation. On behalf of the Commonwealth, ADA Vivenzio requested five to six years in prison with three years of probation following his sentence.
Assistant District Attorney Assistant District Attorney Nina Vivenzio represented the Commonwealth in this case.