Four arrested in scam targeting grandparents

Four men were charged in a scam that targeted elderly grandparents in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

The men, Roberto A. Gutierrez, 49; Roderick E. Feurtado, 55; Tarek El Idrissi Bouanane, 45; and Robi Feurtado-Castillo, 53, were arrested and charged with felony theft. They are being held without bail at the Westmoreland County Prison.

The scam involved a call to the victim, who was told their grandchild was in jail and they would need to post bail. As part of the scam, one of the suspects would arrive at the home and pose as a bail bondsman to collect the money.

Police said they are aware of 10 cases so far in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, including Unity Township, Hempfield Township, White Oak, Upper St. Clair Township, Canton Township, North Fayette Township, Bethel Park and several in Pittsburgh. Police said they believe there may be other victims out there, and are hoping more people come forward. Anyone who thinks they have been a victim is encouraged to call the Pennsylvania State Police.

The scam was revealed when one of the intended victims went to the bank to remove money, and the teller at the bank informed them this was a scam. Police then staged at the intended victim’s house and caught Gutierrez as he approached the home to collect the money.

Police said Gutierrez told them of his involvement in four other incidents between Sept. 27 and 29, where he collected more than $50,000 from the victims. He also identified Feurtado as the person who ordered him to collect the money.

Feurtado and Feurtado-Castillo were arrested at the Pittsburgh Marriott Airport Hotel on Thursday. Police said they had $220,000 in cash in a shoebox.

Bouanane was identified by Feurtado as being involved, and was arrested at the Hyatt Place Pittsburgh nearby, where he was found with between $10,000 and $15,000 in cash.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14.