The Cottonwood Police Department and Yavapai County Attorney’s Office have seized $15,500 from a fraud scheme and returned it — through court action — to an elderly couple, according to a news release issued by the County Attorney.
The incident involves an elderly couple from Camp Verde that was defrauded out of the money by a fake computer company offering to provide lifetime maintenance of the couples’ home computers.
After making a bogus sale of services to the victims, the company later contacted the victims and offered to wire a refund of $1,000 to the victims’ bank account.
Through an elaborate scam, the suspects were able to gain access to the elderly couple’s bank account and mimic deposits by transferring a large amount of the couple’s own money from their savings account to their checking account.
The scammers then convinced the victims to return this “overpayment” by depositing the funds into an account controlled by the scammers, the release states.
The victims were notified their bank account had been flagged for possible fraudulent activity, and the bank froze the victims’ accounts and two others, believed to belong to the suspects.
The victims reported the incident to the Cottonwood Police Department, which was able to seize $15,500 from the scammers’ accounts before the scammers had an opportunity to transfer the money out of the reach of law enforcement, according to the release.
The couple was defrauded of almost $18,000, of which $15,500 was recovered through the efforts of the banks and law enforcement.
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office filed a civil forfeiture action and obtained a court order to forfeiting money. The funds were ultimately returned to the victims.
“This is another case that illustrates what an important tool Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws are in the fight against financial fraud, especially in cases involving our senior citizens,” Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said. “Asset forfeiture laws allow us to pursue the recovery of funds even when the wrongdoer is beyond our jurisdiction for criminal charges.”