The Nolensville Police Department has charged two men with theft over $10,000 and financial exploitation of an elderly person after an elderly Nolensville woman was defrauded of $26,000 in a scam.
According to Nolensville Police Chief Roddy Parker, that investigation began on Tuesday and that investigation quickly became a joint investigation with the Hendersonville Police Department.
HPD also began an investigation this week into a scam that targeted an elderly Hendersonville resident who, according to an HPD news release, received a phone call from someone who was impersonating the victim’s grandson.
Police report that the scammer stated that they were in jail and then passed the phone to their “attorney” who was another scammer.
Police said that the “attorney” then told the victim that their grandson had been in an out-of-state automobile accident that resulted in the death of another person, and the scammers alleged that the “grandson” was being criminally charged and needed money from the victim to help pay legal fees which they said could lessen their charges.
The scammers would then arrange for a courier to actually pick up cash from the victim’s home and then deliver that money to another location.
It’s not clear how much money was stolen from that Hendersonville victim, but HPD reported that a second victim was targeted the following day in which more than $10,000 was stolen.
HPD reported that these couriers were actually unsuspecting Uber drivers who were simply delivering packages as a part of their job with no knowledge of the criminal activity that was taking place.
NPD Chief Parker said that couriers were also used in Nolensville, and at this time they don’t believe that those couriers were aware of the scam, but NPD is actively investigating all aspects of the case.
HPD reported that the first Hendersonville victim was contacted again by the scammers who were asking for more money, which allowed HPD the opportunity to set up a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of a Miami, Fla.,-man at the 100 Oaks Mall on Tuesday.
That man was identified by HPD as 42-year-old Jorge Baglan-Pichardo by HPD detectives and FLEX officers, with the assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
HPD charged Baglan-Pichardo with two counts of theft over $10,000, attempted theft over $10,000, two counts of financial exploitation of an elderly person and attempted financial exploitation of an elderly person.
Baglan-Pichardo is being held in Sumner County Jail on $150,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on June 23, and now he’s also facing charges in Williamson County.
On Wednesday, HPD detectives identified a second suspect, 28-year-old Herrera Alonzo Bienvenido, also of Miami.
Police said that Bienvenido fled from a Smyrna-area hotel after Baglan-Pichardo was arrested, but coordinated efforts between HPD, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Boward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office resulted in Bienvenido’s arrest at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.
Police said that a “large sum of cash” was recovered from Bienvenido, and he is facing the same charges as Baglan-Pichardo, pending his extradition to Sumner County.
"Our Nolensville victim was scammed out of a substantial amount of money. Our hearts hurt for her. We are ecstatic we could help bring these guys to face justice in the case of our victim," NPD said in a social media post. "The NPD is very protective of our seniors and we take a really dim view of anyone trying to cause harm to them."
It is not known at this time when the duo will appear in a Williamson County courtroom.
HPD reports that several other Middle Tennessee victims have been identified since the pair were arrested, and law enforcement agencies in both Sumner County and Williamson County ask that anyone who believes that they may have been a victim of this scam or others, or anyone who may have information on the suspects to contact their local law enforcement agency.