Suffolk police: Man scammed people out $500K, including $277K in gold bars

Police say 25-year-old Yash Shah, of Baldwin, told two female victims in their 70s that their computers had been compromised with child pornography.

Caroline Flynn and Cecilia Dowd

Aug 24, 2023, 10:00 AM

Updated 241 days ago


Two Suffolk County women were scammed out of nearly $500,000, authorities say.
Police say the victims, who are both in their 70s, received notices that they had child pornography on their computers and were told to pay up.
Deputy Inspector Frank Catalina, who is also commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Investigative Services Bureau, says scam artists are preying on the elderly, often wiping out their life savings.
In this case, police say one of the victims handed over more than $400,000, including $277,000 worth of gold bars, and almost handed over an additional $260,000 but ultimately didn’t.
The other victim handed over $35,000.
The victims are from Huntington and Kings Park.
Yash Shah, of Baldwin, was arrested and is facing grand larceny and conspiracy charges.
He pleaded not guilty to taking the money from the victims.
Police believe there are others he was working with and that the group is likely tied to a handful of cases.
Shah’s attorney told News 12 that Shah is a victim.
Police say one of the victims helped the investigation when she realized something might not be right and snapped a photo of the suspect’s license plate. Authorities say she captured a side view of the suspect as well.
Catalina said the scammers are professionals and are convincing. Police say the victims’ money has not been recovered.
Shah’s next court date is in September.
Detectives say if anyone thinks they may have been a victim of the scam to call 631-852-6821.

More from News 12