Police say vacant Darien home used in cash fraud scheme
On March 19, a Middlesex Road resident contacted the police department and informed officers that the vacant home they were selling had a suspicious package delivered to it. Earlier in the day, their real estate agent had arrived at the home and found a package on the step addressed to that home with the name “Thomas McKnight” as the recipient and a return address from Phoenix, Arizona.
Neither the agent nor the homeowner recognized either names. Thinking there may have been an error, as the address was correct, the homeowner instructed the realtor to open the package. Inside the package was $10,000 in one-hundred dollar bills.
Detectives met with the real estate agent who turned the package and cash over to them. She informed officers that after finding the delivery, and while showing the home to prospective buyers, a male had come to the door and asked about the package. At this time, the agent became suspicious and told the male that the homeowner had taken the package from the residence. The male would return two more times demanding to know where the package was. The male was described as a tall, thin, black male with dreadlocks and a tattoo on his neck.
Through investigation, detectives would determine that the cash had originated from an elderly victim in Maryland. The victim had been told over the phone that her son had gotten into legal trouble, and the victim thought they were sending cash to a lawyer for his legal defense. Further, the caller had informed the victim that there had been a “gag order” imposed and they were not to tell anyone, to include the victim’s spouse. It was determined that the victim had, previous to the cash found by the agent in this case, sent $10,000 in cash to the above address. The victim told detectives they had been asked to send another $5,000 to an address in Haverstraw, New York.
Detectives obtained tracking information for that package and contacted the Haverstraw police. Officers there were able to make an arrest in their jurisdiction of the person who came to retrieve the package.