Elderly couple from Ithaca become victims of $23,000 scam, Florida men arrested

ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) — Two Florida men were arrested in Onondaga County after police say they used Uber to transport $23,000 in cash that was scammed out of an elderly couple.

New York State Police arrested 39-year-old Yoelvis Reyes and 45-year-old Mario Escalante, both of Hialeah, Florida, after an investigation into the scam. Both men were charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class D felony. Reyes and Escalante have already appeared in court and were released.

According to the New York State Police, an Uber driver called troopers in North Syracuse at about 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 12 to report that he had picked up a package that contained a large amount of money from a residence in Ithaca.

The Uber driver told police that he believed the money could be proceeds from a scam based on prior experience. The driver gave the Onondaga County delivery address to the police, and troopers began surveilling the Uber driver and the delivery location within 30 minutes of the call.

The Uber driver delivered the package at 12:15 p.m., and the state police took the recipient into custody for questioning. Police found the recipient’s associate in a nearby motel. The men, Reyes and Escalante, were sharing a motel room and consented to a search of the room. Police found thousands of dollars in cash in the room.

The Uber driver gave the police the address of the where residence he picked up the package, and troopers from the New York State Police Department in Ithaca went to the home.

The residents were an elderly couple, and they told police that they had sent $23,000 in cash to the Onondaga County address because they were led to believe it was bail money for their nephew.

The amount of money the couple sent and the cash found in Reyes and Escalante’s hotel room was more than $34,000.

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