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Dec 09, 2021

Middletown Police Arrest Thief, Warn Residents of Telephone Scam

On Dec. 8, Middletown Township police arrested Oscal Novas Bastista, 36, of The Bronx, New York, in connection with a fraudulent request for bail.

After the victim received a call from a person reporting to be the grandson and requesting money for bail, she contacted Middletown police and was advised that the call was a scam and was given specific instructions if there were additional calls or if anyone arrived at the house.

At approximately 3:55 pm, Bastista arrived at the victim’s residence asking for the money. The victim contacted police, who were able to quickly respond and apprehend the suspect at the scene.

Bastista was charged with theft by deception and was lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold.

The fraud, often referred to as a “Bail Scam” involves a phone call coming to the victim, who is usually elderly. The caller will identify themselves as the victim’s “grandson” and say that they have been in a car crash with injuries. The injured party is often characterized as being a “pregnant woman” who is now in the hospital. The grandson will then tell the victim that there will be a lawyer calling in order to get money for bail. When the second call comes, that person will identify themselves as a lawyer for the grandson and tell the victim that there has been a bail set at some amount between $5,000 and $10,000. When the victim agrees to come up with the bail, the caller will tell them that someone from the law office or a courier will be coming to their house to pick up the money. Many times, there is a follow-up phone call where the victim is told that the pregnant woman, her unborn child or both of them have died and that the bail has now been increased. The reported circumstances and the people claiming to be the relative, the lawyer, the bail bondsman, and the courier are all part of the scam. No crash occurred and no one was injured. It is all an elaborate lie told in a convincing way. This scam has been actively perpetrated throughout the state.

In the event that a person receives such a call, the Middletown Township Police Department urges them to contact their local law enforcement agency and report it. Additionally, people should contact the relative in question or the relative’s other family members in order to verify their well-being. Last, people should not give out personal information such as names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and address to unknown parties.