NJ man pleads guilty to scamming elderly victims out of over $69,000

Rahul Alam
Rahul Alam(Hampden D.A.'s Office)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:05 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) - A New Jersey man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty after scamming two elderly victims out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Jim Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, said that the investigation began when the victims reported fraud to Westfield Police. An investigation found that the scheme began when the victims responded to an email about a small outstanding balance at Amazon.

The victim, who wished to cancel their Amazon Prime membership, called a number listed in the email and once contact was made, someone claiming to be from Amazon asked for personal information, including name, address, and phone number.

On the other end of the phone, the person reportedly said that the money owed was far greater.

Leydon noted that the victims then began meeting with the suspect, identified as 35-year-old Rahul Alam of Voorhees, NJ, over the next month and after “relentless calls by the scammers” on the belief that they were paying off the debts owed to Amazon.

After contacting police, Westfield Police detectives reportedly joined the victims at a scheduled meeting and at that meeting, Alam was identified by the victims as the person with whom they had previously met and he was taken into custody.

In total, the victims were defrauded out of $69,404.

“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,” Leydon explained.

Last Thursday, Alam pleaded guilty to nearly two dozen charges including:

  • Attempt to commit a crime - three counts
  • Larceny more than $1,200 by a single scheme and false pretense on a victim over 60 years or disabled – two counts
  • Larceny over $1,200 by false pretense – four counts
  • Larceny more than $250 by a single scheme and false pretense on a victim over 60 years or disabled – four counts
  • Larceny more than $250 by false pretense on victim over 60 years or disabled – eight counts

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said in a statement:

“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.”

Alam was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in state prison, followed by three years of probation with conditions that he stay away and have no contact with the victims, stay away from the victim’s address, pay $68,504 restitution to the victims, and seek and maintain employment with verification to probation. Leydon noted that $900 of the restitution was already forfeited. Prosecutors had asked for five to six years in prison with three years of probation.