Police: Copiague woman helped bilk 85-year-old out of $11,000

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A Copiague woman was arraigned Friday for allegedly being part of a scam that bilked an 85-year-old New Hyde Park woman out of $11,000. 

Police say Maria Adames, 25, collected money from the victim in May after a man, who has not yet been arrested, conducted an alleged phone scam.

The victim says the man pretended to be her grandson and told her that he had been in a car accident, injured a pregnant woman, was arrested and needed $11,000 in cash for bail money.

"He started to cry so I believed him, thinking he was my grandson," the victim says.

The victim called police after she says she eventually suspected she was being scammed when Adames came to pick up her money. "I just had a feeling because she just came to the front door, grabbed the envelope, gave me the receipt and ran."

Detectives say a fingerprint on that receipt led to Adames.

According to prosecutors, Adames lives in a house in Copiague with her two children, including an 8-month-old. Adames was charged with grand larceny. Her bail was set at $25,000. Neighbors in her area say they are stunned at her arrest.

Nassau police say crimes against the elderly are on the rise, especially ones that start with a phone call. Less than a year ago, an elderly Oceanside woman lost $45,000 in a similar crime that was caught on video.

Detective Christopher Barling says there are steps seniors can take to avoid being scammed.

"Don't feel pressured into running out and getting money to give to these people," he says. "Get a phone number, call your family, call the local authorities and we'll come and help you."

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