CHANDLER, Ariz. - Chandler Police officials say they have arrested 2 men in connection with a fraud scheme involving multiple alleged victims.
The two, according to court documents we obtained, were arrested on Aug. 22.
Here are the details on the case.
Who are the suspects?
Raul Roque Reyes
The suspects were identified in court documents as Raul Roque Reyes and Julio Angel Paulino Rosario.
The birth date (and by extension, the age) for both suspects were redacted from court records that we obtained.
Court documents, however, did note that the two are not U.S. citizens, and currently live in New York City.
What did they allegedly do?
According to court documents for both Reyes and Rosario, they are allegedly involved in a kidnapping fraud scheme that reportedly victimized three people.
Investigators said they were notified on Aug. 22 of the alleged fraud, when a manilla envelope containing $15,000 in cash was delivered to a Chandler BMW car dealership by a rideshare driver. The envelope was marked "Attn Paul" on the outside.
"[Officers] also learned after the [rideshare] driver had delivered the envelope, he was confronted by two males later identified as Julio Angel Paulino Rosario and Raul Roque Reyes," read a portion of the court documents.
The rideshare driver, according to investigators, picked up the envelope from an elderly woman whose identity was redacted from court documents.
The woman, according to police, was crying when she handed the envelope to the rideshare driver.
"She informed him that the envelope needed to be delivered to [the Chandler car dealership] to someone named ‘Paul’ but provided him with no further information," read a portion of the court documents. "During the investigation, it was discovered that [the alleged victim] was called by someone who told her that her son was kidnapped, and that she needed to provide $15,000 cash to be delivered [the Chandler car dealership]."
A police officer, according to investigators, saw a large amount of cash in the center console of the vehicle the suspects were in, after one of the suspects asked the officer if he could get his cell phone from inside the vehicle. A search warrant was later obtained, and during the search, officers found large amounts of cash, as well as envelopes with the names of three other alleged victims inside the vehicle.
"All of the envelopes were found shredded into little pieces inside a Taco Bell bag," read a portion of the court documents.
How much money did the victims reportedly lost?
The names for all four alleged victims were redacted from court documents. However, investigators said two of the four alleged victims lost $15,000, while one lost $14,320, and another lost $4,000.
"When we contacted the victims, they verified they were scammed in a similar fashion to the first victim," investigators wrote, in court documents.
What did the suspects say after they were arrested?
Investigators said during their interview with Rosario, Rosario said that he, along with Reyes, were instructed by someone from the Dominican Republic to pick up the envelopes from drivers at various locations.
The name of the person from the Dominican Republic was redacted from court documents.
"[Rosario] said they had no idea what was in the packages. Once the cash was retrieved, they were to contact [name redacted] via telephone, and he would provide them with a bank account to have the cash deposited into," read a portion of the court documents.
Rosario, according to police, also said he and Reyes' flight to Arizona, along with the rental car they had and the Airbnb that they were staying in, were all paid for. Investigators also said that Rosario said, during his interview, that he knew something wasn't right about what he was doing, but still went along with it because he wanted the money. He also said he didn't know what he was picking up or why. Rosario also claimed that Reyes had no involvement in the alleged crimes.
Investigators, however, cast doubts on Rosario's claims, because Rosario, along with Reyes, opened three envelopes with large amounts of cash in them, and the envelopes were ripped up into little shreds. In addition, investigators state that Reyes was in the passenger seat when police stopped the vehicle, and was the one with the money all around him.
According to court documents, Reyes chose not to speak when police tried to interview him, and requested an attorney.
What are the two accused of?
Both Reyes and Rosario are accused of the following:
- Theft (A.R.S. 13-1802A3)
- Fraud Schemes (A.R.S. 13-2310A)
- Participating In or Assisting a Criminal Syndicate (A.R.S. 13-2308C)
All three offenses, according to court documents, are felonies.
Meanwhile, investigators say they are still attempting to contact other alleged victims.