Bronx man extradited, charged in elaborate Volusia County ‘Grandparents Scam’.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
A 24-year-old man from the Bronx, New York, has been extradited to Volusia County and formally charged for his involvement in an audacious attempt to execute a "grandparents’ scam" on a DeLand woman, who knew it was a scam because it was the very same scenario used to victimize her in an unrelated fraud case in March 2021. (Two male suspects were eventually arrested in that case.)
According to a release, in recent years, Volusia sheriff’s detectives have seen a rising number of fraud cases involving elderly residents being defrauded of thousands of dollars. Older victims receive phone calls from impostors pretending to be their grandchild who’s in trouble following a car crash or some other misfortune, when the scammer demands thousands of dollars in cash, to make sure the family member doesn’t land in jail. Several Volusia County residents have fallen for this scheme, and in a recent twist, some impostors have used Lyft or Uber drivers to unknowingly become couriers for criminals to ferry the money from the victim’s home to an unknown location and an unknown third person.
On January 24, 2023, the DeLand victim received a call from a male “attorney” representing her grandson following a car crash that supposedly injured another motorist, stating that her grandson needed her to send $6,500, to keep her grandson out of jail utilizing a Lyft driver to deliver the money. The victim told the caller they would talk later to “finalize” the transaction, before calling her son and contacting the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Volusia County Sheriff detectives sprang into action, hoping to complete the money drop-off and arrest the suspect with the help of the Lyft driver.
Employing investigative techniques, the detectives discovered vital information about the individual who had engaged the Lyft driver's services and executed search warrants and subpoenas, pointing to a person of interest known as JM or Joel Mathilda.
Further investigations led the Sheriff's Office to a booking photo and police arrest report in Cayuga County, NY, where Mathilda was arrested in February for the same type of fraud – including using a courier.
The VSO Extradition Unit transported Joel Mathilda to the Volusia County branch jail on fraudulent activity charges, including an organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Following his initial court appearance, Mathilda secured his release after posting bail amounting to $60,000.
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