Nutley police continue to investigate a fraud in which an older resident who met a woman on the social media app “Nextdoor” led to the victim losing a substantial amount of cash, Det. Lt. Anthony Montanari, the Nutley PD’s public-information officer, said.
Montanari says on Tuesday, Nov. 22, a 76-year-old Nutley woman called police after she realized she was being scammed.
Police arrested Gabriela Mendez, 25, and Michael Zicaro, 28, both of Lyndhurst, after they came to her home to “pick up” an additional $7,000 of her money. The victim had reportedly already given Mendez a large sum of money over the past several months.
Police Director Al Petracco was not pleased this happened to a Nutley resident.
“What appears to be a kind-hearted woman trying to help someone she believed needed money was instead deceived, defrauded and bilked out of her life savings,” the commissioner said. “My heart is broken to believe there are people preying on older folks as kind as her.”
Chief Thomas Strumolo concurred.
“This is a classic fraud, where actors use the victim’s emotions to obtain money,” Strumolo said. “Both were charged while detectives investigate to determine if there were other victims.”
Police continue to urge residents to use extreme caution before sending or giving money to anyone without verifying their authenticity. Call police immediately if there is an uncertainty.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off 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 Facebook Live, 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 West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.