Riverside County man arrested in million dollar 'grandma scam'

Posted at 11:33 AM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 20:42:15-04

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Monday the arrest last week of a Southern California man as part of a crackdown on a large, international criminal organization that preyed on San Diego seniors.

An Indian national, Dilip-kuma Patel of Corona, was arrested on suspicion of laundering more than $4.2 million in one year's time for a criminal organization based in India that Dumanis said tricked victims out of hundreds of millions more. 

"Scam artists operating outside of the U.S. aren't easy to catch," Dumanis said. 

She said a search of Patel's home turned up documents, computers and cell phones indicating he was involved in an Indian-based crime network. 

Beth Baker, an 86-year-old woman from National City, was scammed out of $64,000 of her savings. 

A caller told Baker that her grandson had been in a car accident in Peru and needed bail money. She purchased pre-paid "Green Dot" money cards in various denominations at the scammer's insistence.