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Man loses $14K after scammers made up story about his grandson's arrest

11 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago Friday, June 16 2023 Jun 16, 2023 June 16, 2023 6:50 AM June 16, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Thomas Fleming is still angry over what happened to him a year ago. A story about his grandson and a series of phone calls cost him $14,000.

"He was drunk, run a red light, and had hit a woman who was six months pregnant," Fleming said. 

The callers identified themselves as a lawyer and a district attorney in Florida and told Fleming his grandson was in jail in Florida facing serious charges. "He was in serious trouble."

Fleming called his grandson and got no answer. Concerned and wanting to help, Fleming listened.

"We went down to the bank, got $14,000 and I put it in a package," Fleming said. He was told to mail it to his grandson via FedEx at an address in Boston.

"They said, 'This is what had to be done, you just follow the rules and regulations.'"

The package was overnighted, and the next morning his grandson was at his doorstep. He had no idea what was going on and said he'd been at home.

"I said, oh boy, we've been scammed," Fleming recalled.

Fleming and his wife were hit by 'the grandchild scam': a scam that's been around for years.

The story took a turn when Fleming called Fedex and stopped the package in transit after telling them what was going on and what was inside.

"I said, 'I want it returned to FedEx and I want it returned to me, unopened."

According to a Louisiana State Police report, that didn't happen. It was returned to the FedEx office where it was opened in a closed room by security.

"Without documenting it," Fleming explained.

There was no money inside, and now he's suspicious about what happened there.

"Why did he have to open the package at all? All he had to do was do exactly what I asked him to do, return the package to me intact."

It's been a year, and Fleming is still bothered by what happened.

"There is someone in this country that today is going to get scammed, and they're going to lose their money and no one cares."

He's looked for help everywhere: the police, a lawyer, and even the FBI.

"This is the national elder fraud hotline. Never heard from them."

He's sending a warning to others and doesn't want anyone else to become a victim of a scam like this.

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