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Police: 'Bail scammer' needs bail himself after attempt to trick elderly victim in Lititz goes awry

Engherbert Perez Jimenez, of Reading, is charged with attempting to swindle an 82-year-old victim out of $15,000 by falsely claiming her grandson needed bail money.
Credit: Northern Lancaster County Regional Police
Engherbert Perez Jimenez

LITITZ, Pa. — A 26-year-old suspected scammer from Berks County is in need of bail money himself after police say he was caught in the act of trying to bilk an elderly Lancaster County resident out of $15,000 using a common bail scam fraud.

Engherbert Perez Jimenez, of Reading, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one felony count of theft by deception and one felony count of attempted theft by deception, according to Northern Lancaster County Regional Police.

Police say the family members of Perez Jimenez's alleged 82-year-old target contacted police to report a fraud attempt in progress, and he was taken into custody at the place where he arranged to meet the victim to receive an additional $7,000 in cash after an earlier, successful attempt to trick the victim into giving him $8,000 using a bail scam.

According to police, Perez Jimenez contacted the victim over the phone and claimed the victim's grandson had been involved in a vehicle crash that put another person into Intensive Care.

Claiming to be a lawyer, Perez Jimenez instructed the victim to withdraw $8,000 in cash to bail their grandson out of prison, then arranged to meet with the victim in Warwick Township to take the money.

The victim complied, withdrawing $8,000 and meeting with Perez Jimenez to give it to him, police say.

But when Perez Jimenez contacted the victim a second time on Tuesday and claimed to need an additional $7,000 to facilitate the release of the victim's grandson, the victim became suspicious, police say.

The victim contacted her grandson, who confirmed that he was not in any kind of legal trouble, according to police. 

The victim's grandson then contacted authorities to report the fraud attempt. Officers and detectives with the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department coordinated a response and arranged surveillance of the area where the victim was supposed to meet Perez Jimenez a second time.

When Perez Jimenez arrived, police intercepted his vehicle and took him into custody, according to the NLCRPD.

Investigators were able to recover the $8,000 the victim had given him earlier, according to police.

Perez Jimenez was transported to the Lancaster County Prison for preliminary arraignment and posting of bail. 

The other occupants of the vehicle, a 26-year-old Reading woman and an infant, were released pending further investigation of the incident, according to police.

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