HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hendersonville police returned a senior citizen’s life savings after the 82-year-old was conned out of thousands in cash.
The department has a strong warning for all seniors who could be pressured by con artists using high-pressure tactics to separate them from their money.
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It unfolded Sept. 22 when Hendersonville detectives say a man, pretending to be a federal agent, called a senior citizen and scared him into thinking he needed to immediately send money to a federal courthouse in Texas.
The man on the phone stayed on the line with the 82-year-old while the senior went to his bank and withdrew $60,000 in cash.
According to police, the senior was then told to hand that cash to a fake courier who met him.
Police say Piyushkumar Patel was that fake courier.
“It is unfortunate, we do have many citizens in our elderly community who are regularly targeted,” said Sgt. Chris Gagnon. “They take advantage, they have a lot of money set for retirement and then take advantage of the trusting mentality they have.”
After handing over his life savings, the senior sensed something was not right and walked into the Hendersonville Police Department to file a complaint.
According to police, the senior got the courier’s license number and with that information, the department checked LPR cameras and saw Patel’s dark-colored Toyota four runner.
The detectives immediately tracked the car to an East Nashville home on Greenland Avenue.
When News 2 arrived at the house, Patel’s Toyota was in the driveway. The vehicle had the same license number seen on the Hendersonville LPR cameras.
When detectives knocked on the door, the 47-year-old Patel answered. Police said he admitted to being in Hendersonville that afternoon.
He said he was a courier. When police asked if he had the package, he admitted to picking up—detectives said that’s when Patel handed over the cash.
According to police, of the original $60,000, they recovered $59,100. Where the missing $900 went is not known.
Police showed News 2 a picture of the money and it is ironically wrapped in the funny papers of a local newspaper. The money has since been returned to the senior citizen.
“You have to be critical of everyone you come into contact with,” said Gagnon. “Reach out to your local [police department] if you have questions. We will help walk you through it. We would much rather help you in the process and do a lot in terms of mitigating any possible losses you might have.”
Gagnon said the fact that the senior reported the scam immediately gave police a great opportunity to crack the case. He said patrol quickly worked with detectives searching for clues which helped them to get to East Nashville and close the case within two hours of it being reported as a crime.
Patel was taken to the Sumner County jail and charged with theft over $60,000 and financial exploitation of the elderly.
The person on the phone with the senior is not known at this time.