Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
A Canadian man who scammed a Haverhill senior citizen out of $43,000 by telling him that his grandson had been arrested and needed bail money, was convicted today in Salem Superior Court.
An Essex Superior Court jury found Sami Saloumi, 33, guilty of conspiracy and attempt to receive stolen property after a three-day trial. Judge Timothy Feeley will sentence the defendant Monday.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Kim Gillespie introduced evidence proving in November, 2014, the 78-year old victim received a phone call from someone posing as a San Diego police officer, who informed him that his grandson had been arrested and needed bail money. The victim followed the instructions of the caller and sent several packages containing thousands of dollars in cash to an address in New York. After bank employees became concerned about the large amounts of cash that the victim was withdrawing, they encouraged him to go to the Haverhill Police. The victim received another call from the scammer and was told to send money to a California address which he gave to the Haverhill Police. Haverhill Police detectives arranged with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to have a “dummy” package delivered to the address. Police delivered the package and arrested the defendant after he signed for it.
“Stealing money from a senior citizen through type deceptive scheme is particularly despicable,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Haverhill Police Department working in concert with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Homeland Security, we were able to secure justice for this victim.”
“I commend this victim for reporting this crime because often, scam victims are too embarrassed to come forward,” said Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro. “We can’t do anything about it if it is not reported. Our department will continue to warn our citizens about scams and we encourage anyone who encounters suspicious calls or activity, to please report them to us.”
Gillespie praised Haverhill Police Detective Penny Portalla and Orange County Sheriff’s Department Officers David Van De Kreeke, Jackie Gray and Juan Rodriquez for their work on the investigation. Essex Victim Witness Advocate Christina Garcia assisted the trial team and the victim.
The defendant faces up to five years in state prison on each count and the commonwealth intends to seek restitution at the sentencing hearing on Monday.
The defendant is represented by Attorney Camille Sarouff.