Po­lice: Men bilked woman out of $35K

Said her grand­son was ar­rested and he needed money for a lawyer.

The Times-Tribune - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH KOHUT STAFF Writer Con­tact the writer: jko­[email protected]­rock.com, 570-348-9144; @jko­huttt on Twit­ter

Scran­ton po­lice charged three men Fri­day with scam­ming an el­derly woman out of $35,000 un­der the ruse her grand­son had been ar­rested and needed money to pay a lawyer.

A West Vir­ginia state trooper con­tacted Pa­trol­man Kyle Gil­martin of the Street Crimes Unit be­cause the lat­est in­stall­ment an 86-year-old there was to make, $8,000, had to be sent to an ad­dress in Scran­ton.

Au­thor­i­ties man­aged to trace the pack­age back to three men — Ray­mundo Pena-nunez, 22; Jeyson Sanchez-mo­ran, 24; and Fran­cis Ro­driguez-gomez, 26. Po­lice charged them Fri­day with nu­mer­ous theft-re­lated felonies. Of the three, only Ro­driguez-gomez had a listed ad­dress: 25 Hill­side Ave., New York, New York.

So far, $18,000 of the money has been re­cov­ered, Po­lice Chief Carl Graziano said.

The three men posed as a phony at­tor­ney, James Clark, and stoked fear that the vic­tim’s grand­son needed le­gal funds, but re­quired that she mail the money hid­den in taped-shut mag­a­zines. The vic­tim’s fam­ily knew that her grand­son had not been ar­rested and con­tacted the West Vir­ginia state po­lice.

She sent two in­stall­ments to New Jersey. She was told the last one failed to ar­rive and to send an­other to Scran­ton.

From there, the Street Crimes Unit and a U.S. postal in­spec­tor tracked it back to the three men they charged Fri­day.

Po­lice learned that in­ter­net pro­to­col ad­dresses in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic had been track­ing the pack­ages over the last sev­eral days. Be­fore they were ar­rested, they told po­lice they were in the area to play pro­fes­sional base­ball.

Pena-nunez and Ro­driguezGomez once played mi­nor league base­ball for teams as­so­ci­ated with the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates and Sanchez-mo­ran once played for a mi­nor league team as­so­ci­ated with the Los An­ge­les An­gels. Each had al­ready been re­leased by their teams, po­lice said.

They are all in the Lack­awanna County Prison. Mag­is­te­rial Dis­trict Judge Paul Keeler set bail at $75,000 each. Pre­lim­i­nary hear­ings are sched­uled for 10:45 a.m. Dec. 17.



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