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Police: Man Arrested After Convincing Old Woman to Send $10,000 to a Vacant Darien Address

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A 27-year-old man has been charged with attempted larceny after a 2019 incident in which an elderly woman was convinced to send $10,000 in cash to a vacant Darien house for sale, and a man showed up to demand the package. Back in 2019, Darien police described the incident one way in a regular news release, then an officer involved in the case gave Darienite.com a different description, which then Police Chief Raymond Osborne, largely confirmed, and Darienite.com’s article was updated. Here’s the description given in that article after it was updated, with additional information released today, Tuesday, by police — all accounts include accusations not proven in court:

Sometime on the morning of March 19, 2019, a package arrived on a doorstep of a vacant house for sale on Middlesex Road. The homeowner’s real estate agent had arrived at the house and found the package, addressed to a “Thomas McKnight.” The homeowner was contacted but didn’t know anyone by that name, although the package was correctly delivered to the address on the label.


Man Scammed Out of $20,000 Over the Phone

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An elderly Darien man contacted through a pop-up virus in his computer received a message that instructed him to call a phone number to fix a virus in his computer, police were told on Saturday, Dec. 7. Police said:

When the man called the number, he was told his American Express card information had been compromised and, in order to prevent fraudulent use of his card, he should spend all the available credit on it by buying gift cards from Target and Walmart. The man bought a number of gift cards for a total of $20,000, then provided the suspect with the access codes on the back of the cards. Then the victim lost all that money.

Family Emergency Scams

How to Protect the Elderly from Scams: Tips from the Federal Trade Commission

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The FTC just sent a report to Congress called Protecting Older Consumers 2018-2019. The report suggests steps to take to help protect older consumers from fraud. But the evidence also shows a thing or two everyone else can learn from them. Check out the sometimes surprising findings in this year’s report. — This article is from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog.

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UPDATE: Police Revise Story About That Package With $10,000 Left on Darien Doorstep

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Updated at 6:18 p.m., Tuesday, March 26 — Darien police on Tuesday withdrew several parts of the department’s announcement about a package with $10,000 found on the doorstep of a vacant house. The parts about what happened in Darien were unchanged: The money was found, it came from an elderly woman scammed with a false story that her son had been arrested, and a man came three times, demanding the package. A Darien police detective who worked on the case gave this additional information, including changes in the original announcement (published below):


— The victim who sent the $10,000 was from Arizona, not Maryland. — Earlier, a victim from Maryland had sent cash to the same address. The same scam was perpetrated on both victims.

— Darien police found out about the Maryland victim when a police agency in that state contacted the Darien department.