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Lawrence man allegedly scammed out of $296,000

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A 76-year-old Lawrence resident allegedly had $296,000 stolen from him through a scheme that had him transferring money into several fraudulent accounts, police said.

The man received a telephone call at 2 p.m. on May 15, from a person identifying himself as working for the Social Security Administration, according to Robbery Squad detectives.

The allegedly fake Social Security Administration representative said there was fraudulent activity occurring under the man’s name and he was being investigated, and that he should transfer all of his money into several different accounts and other funds that the caller provided, to which the man complied. He later found out his money was no longer available and contacted police. The incident is under investigation.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder spoke at a news conference  on May 16 at the Nassau County Police Department headquarters and said that the money was wired out of the country and into six different accounts. 

"The money was placed into multiple accounts in multiple different accounts," Ryder said. "If this individual is caught, they will be charged with a Class C grand larceny felony and face 15 years in jail."

It is still being investigated as to what countries the money is in, but Ryder did say that once the money is out of the United States, it is difficult to get it back.

Ryder said that people should make family members and friends to be aware of these scams. "I also plead that contact your neighbors, parents, grandparents and let them know that these scams are out there," he said. "We cannot allow them to be victims anymore. We don't want our parents and grandparents to lose everything they saved up because some knucklehead wanted to scam them."

Ryder noted that the Nassau County Police Department  continues to educate all residents about crimes, especially those against the elderly at educational forums. Department officials remind all residents that they should call 911 immediately if they are contacted by any individual requesting that they send money. 

"We want people to call 911 immediatley in a stiuation like this," Ryder said. "Every second that is involved in a scam makes it more difficult to track. They start wiring money out to different places and it makes it harder for us to know where it is."

Police ask that anyone with information regarding the incident contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at (800) 244-8477. All calls are confidential.