On July 11, 2021, the Watervliet Police Department investigated a complaint from a New Mexico resident who stated he received a call indicating that he was a suspect in a large-scale drug ring and was instructed to send a package containing $18,000 in aluminum-foil wrapped cash or be subject to immediate arrest by the federal government. The caller demanded the money be sent via US mail to a business address in Watervliet, NY.
Through an extensive investigation and coordinated effort, the $18,000 cash package was intercepted. In addition, another call was discovered, which resulted in the interception of a second $12,000 package from another victim who resides in Florida.
Watervliet police detectives arrested Dhyey V. Patel and Kirtankumar H. Dalwadi, Nationals of India (pictures attached), and charged both with Grand Larceny 3rd Degree (Class D Felony). Both were arraigned in Watervliet City Court and released on appearance tickets.
As regular practice, legitimate government entities do NOT solicit personal information and/or ask for payment via phone. In these cases, scammers pose as government officials who defraud and intimidate victims, often with time-sensitive demands that are professionally executed. Many times, victims of these crimes are reluctant to notify law enforcement due to embarrassment and shame. It is important for victims to realize they are not alone. Local law enforcement agencies strongly encourage anyone who has sent money (or other items) under similar circumstances to contact the police department in their area.
“Most of us have been solicited by these types of devious criminals. Due to the cowardly distance they place between themselves and their victims by using the phone or internet, it is rare that law enforcement officers get to bring them to justice. Many of these crimes are designed to manipulate and threaten the elderly, along with several other vulnerable groups within our community. This conduct is not only criminal-it is also despicable. The Watervliet Police Department, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to utilize every available resource to bring the criminals responsible for these morally corrupt acts to justice.”
-Chief Joseph L. Centanni
The Watervliet Police Department would like to thank the New York State Police Criminal Stabilization Unit, along with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations Division for their support in this matter.