Man charged after allegedly scamming elderly Muddy Creek Township victim out of $140K

MUDDY CREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police in Butler arrested Sandeep Seelam from India. They said he stole a total of about $140,000 from an elderly victim in Muddy Creek Township.

“We do believe he is part of a larger scam. He claimed to be a treasury agent,” said Trooper Bertha Cazy, Butler State Police.

Police said it started when the victim got an email from what he believed was Pay Pal, requesting to verify a transaction on his account and was given a phone number. The victim called that number and spoke with a person who claimed to be a FTC agent and convinced him that his bank accounts were hacked. The victim was advised to withdraw cash from his accounts and place it into a bitcoin machine at the GetGo.

“A federal agency would never ask you to withdraw your money and deposit it into any other accounts or a Bitcoin ATM machine,” said Trooper Cazy.

Police said the scammer also told the victim to take out more money from multiple banks and a federal agent would be at his house to pick up the money to secure it.

“That’s also another huge red flag. It’s also very common usually with the bank tellers and even with gift cards. They won’t have you buy the total sum at one location because it would lead other people to question it and they sometimes tell you to flat out lie about the reasons you are taking the money,” said Trooper Cazy.

According to data from the FBI and Federal Trade Commission those 60 and older in Pennsylvania were scammed out of more than $80 million total in 2022 with the average senior losing about $28,000.

In this case, the victim got suspicious and reported the scam to police. Troopers then set up a sting outside the victim’s home earlier this month. Police say Seelam showed up attempting to steal 80 grand.

“This is rare because the victims usually wait awhile before contacting the police so we are usually behind and they are no longer in contact with the scammers,” said Trooper Cazy.

State police said a lot of times scammers use email to contact victims and usually request money more than once. The emails also look legit so double check the email address.

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