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Cherokee County Woman Duped of $200K in Gold by International Scam Syndicate

While the victim's money could not be retrieved, one of the scammers was arrested last Friday.
Image Source: Representative image |  Kindelmedia | Pexels
Image Source: Representative image | Kindelmedia | Pexels

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office recently shared a concerning story of a resident who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to a new scam. Fortunately, one of the con artists was arrested last Friday. Parth Patel, 27, attempted to con an 80-year-old Cherokee County resident out of $200,000 in gold. Patel, according to investigators, is only a minor player in a larger criminal organization that mostly works out of India and the United Kingdom. He is referred to be a "lower-level associate" in this organization.

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office claims that this is a really large, international criminal organization. They concentrate on robbing Americans of their money. In this instance, they spent several weeks pursuing the victim before pulling off their con.

Image Source: Photo by Liza Summer | Pexels
Image Source: Representative image
Photo by Liza Summer | Pexels

Residents in Cherokee County were lately targeted by an international group. The scammers claimed to have stolen a victim’s identity and offered to help protect his assets. The $1,500 in gift cards that started the transaction soon grew into a $50,000 wire transfer to a New York City bank. The fraudsters claimed they worked with the US Treasury Department. The bank’s connection made matters worse. They tricked the victim into meeting them in person, buying $100,000 worth of gold, and giving the gold to them for safekeeping. Later, they convinced him to do it again, but this time for $200,000 in gold.

The victim became suspicious and confided in a family member, who then got in touch with the sheriff's office. Together with the victim, deputies communicated with the suspect and set up a meeting. They were able to successfully arrest one suspect last Friday.

Captain Jay Baker claims that the group has several associates who tour the country gathering money and gold from willing locals. According to Baker, this is the first time they've heard of a fraudster physically showing up to retrieve money they've deceived a victim of.

It is incredibly uncommon for someone involved in these scams to be charged and placed under arrest. Furthermore, it is very uncommon for a fraudster to show up in person. This person travelled from Canada to Cherokee County, crossing the border and stopping in other locations along the route to get money from other victims, according to Baker.

Image Source: Photo by RDNE Stock project | Pexels
Image Source: Representative image
Photo by RDNE Stock project | Pexels

Unfortunately, the victim's money could not be retrieved by the authorities. Baker underlined how critical it is to educate people about these frauds, particularly senior family members. "Keep in mind that law enforcement or representatives of the government would never call you to request payment, certainly not in the form of gift cards. That is a serious red flag. Gold or money collection would not be considered legitimate demands," he said.

He advised not to answer calls from unknown numbers and to double-check the legitimacy of calls from purported agencies.