New York man accused of stealing $ 11,000 in Dead Man’s sister SMS scam in Ireland – NBC New York
Man accused of stealing $ 11,000 from a woman in Ireland using her deceased brother’s cell phone – successfully convincing her that he was her brother, then repeatedly asked her to send him money in April 2019, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Frederick Gilbert, 53, of Middle Village, Queens, has been charged with Third and Fourth Degree Theft, First and Third Degree Identity Theft, Third Degree Possession of Stolen Property and Criminal Possession of an Instrument second-degree counterfeits, all related to the alleged crime, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
Gilbert was arrested earlier this week. His next court appearance is scheduled for May. If found guilty, Gilbert faces up to 15 years in prison. Information about his lawyer was not immediately known.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office alleges that in March 2019 Gilbert used a cell phone belonging to the recently deceased Thomas Munnelly to text the man’s sister in Ireland. Claiming to be Munnelly, the texts indicated that the brother and Gilbert had been in an accident at the deceased’s flooring business in Queens, according to the district attorney.
Subsequently, and for several days, the text messages persuaded the woman to send money to her “brother”, who was actually Gilbert, to cover medical bills and settle a threat of lawsuit – while believing that her brother was in financial distress. In total, the woman allegedly sent Gilbert three wire transfers totaling $ 11,000: one on April 1, 2019 for $ 5,000; one on April 14, 2019 for $ 3,500; and one on April 23, 2019 for $ 2,500. Each time, the woman reportedly received messages confirming that the wire transfers had been received.
Citing the charges, the district attorney said the woman also received a message from her “brother” on April 22, but after sending money on April 23, 2019, she stopped receiving text messages from him. . Due to the sudden lack of communication and concern, the woman finally contacted the NYPD on May 7, 2019 and requested a checkup, with police later informing her that her brother had in fact died at a local hospital. March 4, 2019.
Additionally, according to the complaint, on March 23, 2019, an online credit card was opened using Munnelly’s personal information. The following month, several credit card transactions were made totaling nearly $ 460. The complaint also alleges that Gilbert was present when a cash advance withdrawal using the same credit card was attempted at a branch of Capitol One in Howard Beach, Queens.
“The defendant in this case allegedly attacked a woman in another country to feed her greed,” Katz said. “The victim had no idea of her brother’s death and unfortunately this defendant used this to his advantage. The victim was convinced by text message from the deceased’s cell phone that he was his brother and that he needed the money. For about a month, she was allegedly conned into sending him thousands of dollars.