For Waxahachie Police Detective Kyle Ranton, a hug from a victim is all the thanks he needed for a job well done. Through an investigation, police were able to recover almost $12,000 taken fraudulently from the elderly resident.
Family members alerted police that the victim had received phone calls from a person claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House. The caller told the victim she had won $2.5 million but had to pay a fee to collect her winnings.
“They had called her numerous times and said she needed to pay over $12,000 for taxes and fees for her winnings,” Ranton said. “She went and made two separate deposits into a specific Regions Bank account driving up to Lancaster to make those deposits.”
Ranton stated he contacted Regions Bank to see if there were any funds in the account, which there were. The bank then froze the account pending execution of a search-and-seizure warrant. Upon serving the warrant, police were able to capture those funds.
A property hearing was set for May 31 to determine the rightful owner. Notices were sent out to the victim, the suspect, and the bank.
“The scammer did not show up. I had contact with the bank, and they had no interest in the money. It obviously was not theirs, and they didn’t show up to the hearing,” Ranton said. “I testified at the hearing, and the victim did as well. She was granted the ownership of the money, and it went back to her.
After the hearing, the victim came up to Ranton and gave him a bear hug in the lobby in the courts building. She then thanked him for his work on the case.
“Usually when somebody is taken advantage of and scammed out of their money it is immediately withdrawn, and there is nothing left,” Ranton said. “To be able to seize that money and get it back to them is a great feeling.”
Police are not pursuing charges against the suspect since he lives out of the country in Jamaica.
Ranton advises people who might face a similar situation to exercise caution.
“If you win something, you are not going to have to pay fees upfront for any winnings,” Ranton explained. “Just be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby praised the hard work put in by Ranton and fellow detectives.
“I think that he did an outstanding job in this case. I am glad that he was able to recover the money. It is a reflection of the work that he does, and the other detectives do on a daily basis,” Goolsby said. “We were thrilled to be able to help that lady out and recover that money because of a lot of time that does not happen.”
Goolsby encouraged the public to take extra steps to protect themselves from fraud.
“If somebody is calling you tell you that you need to provide money because of something you won just know automatically it is a scam,” Goolsby said.