A man accused of scamming an 85-year-old Norwood woman in early December faced a judge in Chelsea District Court on Thursday, after allegedly pretending to be a lawyer in Mexico representing the woman’s grandson and asking for money.
The man, Ali Almashhadani, was arraigned after spinning a story that the woman’s grandson needed to pay a lawyer and get him out of jail, Norwood Police Department said.
Following through with Almashhadani’s request, the victim told WCVB that she gave the suspects $23,350 in cash and $3,500 in gift cards under the impression that it would get her grandson out of police custody, and pay for a hospital and a damaged rental car in Cancún, Mexico.
According to Norwood police, the woman received three phone calls asking her to put together a package of money for a courier to pick up. After the third phone call, when police were notified, they began an investigation and tracked the car picking up the package using surveillance they said they installed near her home.
The suspects, Ali Almashhadani and Mark Gabra of New York, were pulled over, questioned, and eventually placed under arrest. Both Almashhadani and Gabra are charged with conspiracy, attempt to commit larceny, and receiving stolen property, Norwood police wrote in a Facebook post.
“This is one of the most sophisticated operations I’ve seen since I’ve been on the bench,” the judge said, according to WCVB reports.
Almashhadani pleaded not guilty on Thursday.
The news station reported him saying, “This is not my operation.”