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Keyword: economic crimes

UPDATE (September 11, 2019 11:22 a.m.)

Booking photo of Tyrone Gerard Uyaha StricklandTyrone Gerard Uyaha Strickland is now additionally charged with five felony charges involving the misuse of the Royal Farms gift cards. He is scheduled for a bail review hearing later today.

UPDATE (September 11, 2019 10:13 a.m.):

The man arrested during an investigation into a van filled with diesel fuel at Royal Farms on Pulaski Highway is identified as Tyrone Gerard Uyaha Strickland (30) of the 400 block of Patuxent Court in La Plata, MD 20646.

Strickland was arrested after the officer stopped the van as it attempted to leave the Royal Farms store and the driver was not able to produce a driver's license or registration card for the vehicle. A check through the Maryland Vehicle Administration revealed his license was revoked in 2016.

Strickland was arrested and charged with driving on a revoked license and issued other relevant traffic citations. He is held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $5000 bond pending a bail review hearing. Criminal charges for the incident are pending further investigation.

Original Release (September 10, 2019 11:05 a.m.):

Baltimore County Police arrested a man following a suspicious vehicle call at a Royal Farms store after he was seen filling tanks inside a van with fuel.

Police were dispatched to the Royal Farms at 10740 Pulaski Highway near Ebenezer Road for a call of a suspicious vehicle at 3:34 p.m. The call indicated that a white van was filling two large tanks inside the cargo area with diesel fuel. When the officer arrived on the scene he observed the van, bearing a Virginia registration plate, stopped at the diesel fuel pump. As the officer approached the van it pulled away and left the parking lot. The officer conducted an investigative traffic stop on the van and determined that the driver had committed an arrestable traffic violation and was taken into custody.

The investigation determined that the suspect, a 30-year-old man, paid for the gas using Royal Farms gift cards, but where and how he obtained those cards remains under investigation. The suspect indicated he was given the cards by the owner of the van, a Virginia man, who asked him to fill the fuel tanks using the gift cards. The owner of the van indicated he rented the van to the suspect with no fuel tanks inside, and denied any knowledge of the gift cards.

The Maryland Department of the Environment responded to collect the fuel, while the van was seized by Baltimore County Police. A search warrant yielded the discovery of a total of 68 Royal Farms gift cards and a credit card inside the van, the validity of which remain under investigation.

The identity of the suspect and charges will be released following formal charging. The incident remains under investigation by officers from the Essex Precinct and detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit.

Original release (October 7, 2016  8:01 a.m.):

Economic crimes against vulnerable adults are common problems. Criminals take from the elderly and when the criminals are done, they move on to the next victim.

The lottery scam is popular among fraudsters.

It starts with a letter in the mail, and email, or a phone call informing the senior they’ve won an international lottery. Some seniors become euphoric. The thought that the lottery wining occurred in a foreign country does not stop the person from feeling exited. Nor does the reality of never having set foot in the country set in.

They are told to wire money through Western Union or deposit money to a designated bank account to cover the “taxes” on the winnings. What the senior doesn’t know is that the criminal will call over and over asking for more money for various reasons. The criminal will say “The check is there. Just some small details to work out.”

Detective Dave Donnelly talks about this type of scam.

Some elderly folks fall for the scam while others are vary and don’t. The reasons vary. For some seniors, the thought of winning money is exhilarating and a break from the routine, while others are lonely. Many seniors spend hours at home and are bored. The senior may have lost a loved one and welcomes the unexpected attention.

The promise of money in their later years could be another reason for the seniors to “play” the lottery.

The lottery scam has not escaped the attention of the Maryland General Assembly. In 2010 legislation to give banks “safe harbor” to report anything suspicious or something highly unusual happening to the senior’s account. They could report, but it was not mandatory. Things changed in 2012, as the law was amended requiring banks to report suspicious activity to police, Adult Protective Services, or the State’s Attorney’s Office within 24 hours.

PSO Debbie Chenoweth talks about bank reporting laws. 

Once the police receive the referral from Adult Protective Services, they have 36 hours to contact those closest to the vulnerable adult. The referrals are prioritized. The police determine who needs immediate attention. They call family and friends to help in the process of helping the senior.

PSO Debbie Chenoweth talks referrals.  

But even when confronted with the facts, some vulnerable adults refuse to stop sending money to these criminals. On the contrary, the senior believes that the person on the other end of the phone is their friend. Over time, the fraudster has developed a relationship with the senior and has the senior’s trust. The money is sent and the senior waits for the next phone call from his or her “friend”.

It is difficult to stop seniors from falling prey. Guardianships and powers of attorney are tools to help seniors keep their money, but only in the right hands. Family and friends should contact an attorney for assistance.

Detective Dave Donnelly talks about looking out for seniors  

If you believe an elderly or vulnerable adult is the victim of a scam, contact the Baltimore County Police Department’s Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 410-887-2190.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017