KPD: Fraudsters tried to bilk Washington Avenue woman of $15K for daughter’s ‘bail’

On Jan. 13 at 1:57 p.m., Officer John Fearon responded to a Washington Avenue home where a 75-year-old resident reported a fraud. Officer Fearon learned the resident received a telephone call earlier from a crying woman posing as her daughter. The “daughter” said she needed bail money because she had been arrested for a reckless car crash in which she caused the miscarriage of a pregnant driver.

The resident was then given the telephone number of a supposed lawyer at the “Kearny Courthouse,” with whom she was supposed to arrange bail payment. When the resident called the fake lawyer, he said her daughter needed $15,000 cash bail. The resident said she could only come up with $4,000, but could arrange to get the rest of the money later.

The imposter lawyer then transferred her call to a third person, who falsely claimed to have been the clerk of the “court.” The supposed clerk gave the resident an invoice number and told her “bondsmen” would come to her house with this invoice number to collect the $4,000.

About 15 minutes later, a dark Toyota RAV4, occupied by two men, arrived at the home. A man went to the resident’s door and presented her with a paper bearing the invoice number. The resident gave the man the cash. He then returned to the SUV and the two “bondsmen” drove off.

Detectives set up surveillance of the resident’s home, expecting the men to return for the remaining $11,000 of supposed bail money. Shortly after the second payment was arranged, a white SUV occupied by a woman and a man arrived at the victim’s home. The woman knocked on the victim’s door to collect the remaining money — and both were then arrested by detectives without incident.

Det. John Fabula charged Massiel Hierro, 26, of the Bronx and Joel Delarosa Delarosario, 29, of Paterson, with one count each of criminal-attempt theft and conspiracy to commit theft.

The defendants were later released with summonses.

Det. Fabula investigated further and identified the license plate of the RAV4 used in the collection of the original $4,000 earlier in the day. The vehicle was traced to the owner’s residence in Perth Amboy, where detectives surveilled it.

On Jan. 14, a man got into the RAV4 and was stopped by detectives who, after further investigation, placed him under arrest as one of the original “bondsmen.” Detectives charged this man, Justin E. Garcia Espinosa, 20, of Perth Amboy, with theft by deception, conspiracy and criminal-attempt theft. The defendant was later released with a summons.

Note: While private bail bondsmen do exist, courts and police departments do not send them to homes to collect cash bonds. A cash bail is paid at a government building, such as a police station or a court house. The payment requires the filing of government paperwork and the issuance of a receipt to the bond poster. At no time will a legitimate government official appear at a bond posters home requesting money on behalf of a third party. Occurrences like this should be reported to the local police department immediately. A legitimate request for bail money is never an emergency situation. There is always time to vet the situation with your local police department.

On Jan. 6 at 3:42 a.m., Officer Ryan Wilson towed a 2005 Ford Escape that displayed an expired Texas temporary registration. The Ford had been illegally parked blocking a crosswalk at Chestnut and Dukes streets. The next day at 4:45 p.m., David Alvarado and Cinthia Hernandez came into the police station and asked Sgt. Jay Ward to release the impounded SUV to them.

The two provided the sergeant with a New Jersey 30-day temporary registration tag, which Sgt. Ward quickly observed to be lacking several security features that an authentic registration would display. They also presented a State Farm insurance document listing a policy number the insurance company confirmed does not exist in its records.

Officers Rich Poplaski Jr., and Jordan Miranda arrested the couple in the lobby of police headquarters. Both were charged with forgery, exhibiting false government documents and conspiracy. They were later released with summonses.

On Jan. 8 just after midnight, Officers Taylor Latka, Jose Castillo and Anthony Oliveira were dispatched to a private home for a domestic dispute. A 26-year-old husband and a 24-year-old wife said they had a verbal argument during their recent ride home. The husband said while packing a bag to leave for the night, his wife sprayed mace in his direction. The wife said she didn’t spray the mace until the fourth time her husband choked her and she began to have difficulty breathing. The wife had marks on her neck. Officers arrested the husband and charged him with aggravated assault and later placed him into the county jail.

On Jan. 9 at 6:04 a.m., Officers Christos Manolis, John Donovan and Danny Maganinho were dispatched to a domestic dispute at a private home. A 34-year-old man reported his 43-year-old girlfriend came home with a friend, drunk and loud, and told him to get out because she no longer wanted him to live there.

The man alleged a week earlier, his girlfriend attacked him with a screwdriver. The man lifted his shirt and showed officers a long wound on the left side of his abdomen allegedly inflicted by the screwdriver attack.

Officers arrested the girlfriend on charges of aggravated assault and weapon possession. She was later released with a summons.

On Jan. 12 at 12:40 a.m., Officers Michael Ore, Nicole Cain and Derek Hemphill responded to a dispute on the corner of Davis Avenue and Hoyt Street, where they found a 21-year-old East Orange man with deep cuts to his hands and a black eye. Officers learned the victim was invited to a nearby apartment to have a drink. While there, he had an argument with his host who allegedly punched the victim and tried to stab him with a kitchen knife. The victim was transported by EMS to St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark.

Officers located the alleged slasher in his apartment. After further investigation, they arrested Jose M. Moreno, 24, of Kearny, on charges of aggravated assault and weapon possession. Moreno was later lodged in the Hudson County Jail.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.