TO: ALL NEWS MEDIA
FROM: PROSECUTOR MARK MUSELLA
DATE: MARCH 13, 2020
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced today the arrests of COREY EASTMAN (DOB: 10/08/1992; single; unemployed) of 5169 Elvena Avenue, Pennsauken, NJ; DEVON ORTIZ (DOB: 11/18/1991; single; unemployed) of 4333 Howland Street, Philadelphia, PA; and JULIA MONTGOMERY (DOB: 02/14/1993; single; unemployed) of 7767 Marion Avenue, Pennsauken, NJ on charges of Conspiracy To Commit Impersonation/Identity Theft, Conspiracy To Commit Theft By Deception, and Conspiracy To Commit Financial Facilitation Of Criminal Activity. ORTIZ was additionally charged with Resisting Arrest. The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti and the Tenafly Police Department under the direction of Chief Robert Chamberlain.
Beginning in February 2020, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Squad received multiple reports of elderly individuals who had been victims of a “Grandparent Scam.” Dozens of elderly victims in Bergen County and throughout the State of New Jersey were contacted by a male caller who stated that the elderly victim’s grandchild had been arrested on a number of criminal charges and needed bail money to get out of jail. The caller would request the victims to retrieve cash in amounts ranging from $6,500 to $29,000. Once a victim acknowledged having the money and indicated a willingness to pay, the caller would keep the victim on the telephone until a courier responded and retrieved the money.
On March 11, 2020, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office was alerted that an elderly female resident of Tenafly had been contacted by a male caller who identified himself as an agent of the court. The caller claimed that her grandson had been arrested for Driving While Impaired in Pennsylvania and needed $8,400 for bail. COREY EASTMAN, DEVON ORTIZ and JULIA MONTGOMERY were arrested by law enforcement as they arrived at the location at which they had arranged to retrieve the bail money.
EASTMAN, ORTIZ AND MONTGOMERY were each charged with one count of Conspiracy To Commit Impersonation/Identity Theft, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2/2C:2117a(1), a 2nd degree crime; one count of Conspiracy To Commit Theft By Deception, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2/2C:20-4, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Conspiracy To Commit Financial Facilitation Of Criminal Activity, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2/2C:2125(b)(1), a 2nd degree crime; one count of Conspiracy To Commit Impersonation/Identity Theft, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2/2C:21-17a(1), a 3rd degree crime; one count of Conspiracy To Commit Theft By Deception, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2/2C:20-4, a 3rd degree crime; and one count of Attempted Theft By Deception, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:51/2C:20-4, a 3rd degree crime. ORTIZ was also charged with one count of Resisting Arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a(1), a disorderly persons offense. EASTMAN, ORTIZ, and MONTGOMERY were remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, NJ.
Prosecutor Mark Musella stated: “We are committed to protecting the residents of Bergen County, particularly our seniors, from individuals who are preying on their vulnerability. We urge everyone to pause and enlist help before responding to an urgent demand for money. Consult a family member or call your local police department if you are being pressured to pay. Ask questions and know that courts and other legitimate entities will not direct you to pay using gift cards or cash.”
He further stated that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he would like to thank the Tenafly Police Department for its assistance in this investigation.