2 Men Plead Guilty in Statewide Phone Extortion Scheme

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II, May, 2017. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Authorities say two men have pleaded guilty to scamming thousands of dollars from dozens of people across New York in an elaborate phone scam involving threats to kill the victims’ relatives.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and state police Superintendent George P. Beach II announced Tuesday that 26-year-old Orlando Gonzalez-Rivera, of Syracuse, and Giovani Ayala-Rodriguez, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy.

The officials say Ayala-Rodriguez ran an extortion ring that called up people and claimed the call recipient’s loved-one had been in an accident that injured his nephew. He would claim to have abducted the relative and threatened to harm them if a ransom wasn’t paid.

Authorities say the men scammed more than $14,000 out of at least 55 people.

The case of a third man charged in the scheme is pending.

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