Billerica police charge Boston man with larceny for grandparent scam

The man was caught after he targeted a woman who had no grandchildren.

Billerica police have charged a Boston man with larceny for allegedly attempting to steal from a woman using the “increasingly common” grandparent scam.

Tony Mejia, 37, has been charged with larceny by means of false pretenses.

Police said in a news release that on Thursday, Jan. 5, at about 9 a.m., a 79-year-old woman called police to say she had received a call from a man claiming to be her grandson “Bobby.”

The man claimed he had been arrested for hitting a pregnant woman with his car while drunk, police said. He said he was ashamed of what happened, and told the woman she shouldn’t contact anyone else or tell anyone what happened.


The woman has no grandchildren, police said.

Billerica police responded to the woman’s home and listened as she called a phone number for an attorney that “Bobby” had provided, police said. The second person told the woman her grandson needed $6,000 in bail money to get out of jail and offered to send someone to her home to pick up the money.

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The courier, later identified as Mejia, came to her home that day and accepted a manila envelope full of what appeared to be cash, police said. He was taken into custody by Billerica police as he drove away.

Mejia is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Lowell District Court.

Bail scams typically target grandparents, police said. The scammer will tell them that their grandchild or family member has been arrested and that they need bail money as soon as possible. Oftentimes, they’ll also tell the target not to contact police or other family members.

“This is a classic example of the grandparent and bail scams that have targeted at least 25 people across eastern Massachusetts recently,” Billerica Police Chief Roy Frost said in the release.

“The resident who was targeted in this instance did exactly the right thing when she immediately called Billerica police and helped us make an arrest in an increasingly common type of activity that targets seniors in our communities.”


The FTC’s tips for avoiding grandparent and bail scams:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t answer
  • Call a previously known phone number for your family member or friend
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret
  • Don’t wire money or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier
  • Remember that police and the courts never take payment by prepaid gift cards

You can report possible fraud at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. For more information on grandparent and bail scams, visit the FTC’s website.

Billerica residents who think they may been the victim of such a scam are encouraged to contact the Billerica Police Department at 978-671-0900.


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