A telephone scam that nearly defrauded one Brookfield family of thousands of dollars in late June was perpetrated on a second local family in late June, this time succeeding and resulting in the loss of $16,000 before the victim realized it was a con.
A 75-year-old Brookfield woman told police that on June 28 she had received a telephone call from someone she believed to be her grandson. During that call someone claiming to be an attorney named “Michael J. Wagner” also spoke to her and said her grandson was at fault for a car crash that resulted in a pregnant woman losing her unborn child.
The “attorney” told the victim she needed to provide $16,000 in cash to have her son released from jail. He also told her the judge in the case had placed a “gag order” on the case, advising her not to tell anyone about what had happened.
The “attorney” provided information about a fictitious court date and instructed her to withdraw money from the bank and give it to a courier who would come to her home.
Between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. on June 28, the victim received a call letting her know the courier, named “Mike Garcia,” would arrive at her home in five minutes. The victim described the courier who arrived as being a black male in his 20s with a thin build, clean cut with short hair, and wearing a white T-shirt.
The victim gave the courier the cash and he left the area on foot; the victim did not see a vehicle or which direction the courier left.
On June 29, the victim received more calls from the “attorney” providing her with updates on her grandson’s case. Finally, on the morning of June 30 the “attorney” advised her that her grandson was now being sued and she needed to provide another $70,000 in cash.
Later that evening the victim talked about what had happened with a relative, and the victim then realized she was the victim of a scam, which she reported to police.
As part of their investigation, police attempted to have the victim contact the “attorney” to lure another courier to accept more cash. On July 2, the victim attempted to contact the “attorney” twice by phone, but no one answered and there was no way to leave a voicemail.
Brookfield police reported an almost identical phone scam on June 28 that was averted after a woman had withdrawn $16,000 from the bank but before a courier arrived to pick it up.
In that incident, the female victim also was contacted by someone claiming to be her grandson and by an attorney named Michael Wagner. In both instances, the phone number of the “attorney” was listed to a location in Canada.
That scam was foiled when the intended victim’s husband got suspicious about the large amount of money involved and called their grandson, who told them he was in no trouble.