Sunday, April 21, 2024


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Local News Article
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Lower Salford Police Arrest Fraud Suspect
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A New York City man is accused of participating in a scheme to steal $20,000 from a Lower Salford resident.

            Local authorities filed five felony counts and one misdemeanor against Ji Zhaoxang, whose 22nd birthday is Sunday, of Queens, following a March 23 incident.

           Lower Salford police arrested Zhaoxang around 8 p.m. at the door of an apartment on Montgomery Drive. He was attempting to collect an additional $20,000 from an 82-year-old resident who was the victim of an internet and telephone scam.

           The defendant allegedly received $20,000 from the same resident in a bag one day earlier, according to the police criminal complaint filed in the Franconia court of District Judge Adam Katzman.

           Zhaoxang faces two felony counts each of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and one count of receiving stolen property. He is also accused of   impersonating a public servant, a misdemeanor.

           An officer responded to the property on March 22 for the report of fraudulent activity. The resident told police she received a phone call earlier in the week from someone claiming to be from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation who said her computer and bank account had been hacked.

            Over the next three days, another person made multiple calls to help her set up an email account. On March 20, the victim received an email that included the FBI's symbol and was signed by Judy Thomas, who claimed to be its chief of investigations, Department of Justice. It was intended to convince the victim of the legitimacy of the callers' claims, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

            The email stated that David Chan, the fraud prevention officer in charge, has been appointed to direct her through the financial protection procedure for securing her funds with the U.S. Treasury Officer "before your accounts are subsequently suspended by the United States Government."

            The victim was then instructed to withdraw $20,000 in cash from her bank account and place it in a plastic bag, then directed to leave her phone off the hook so the phone call would stay active.

            Additionally, the victim was told to pick up the phone and say, "Hello" to notify them she was ready for further instructions. During one phone conversation, she was told someone named David Chen would arrive and provide passcode 1199.

            At 3:30 p.m. on March 22, the victim was advised that Chen was outside by the dumpster ready to pick up the money. The victim then delivered the bag of cash to an Asian man with black curly hair wearing a black sweater and white pants, according to the legal document.

            The following day at 12:30 p.m., with the officer on the scene, a person identified as Mike Anderson directed the victim to withdraw another $20,000. As directed, the victim wrapped the money in newspaper and placed it in a paper bag.

            At 8 p.m., the officer observed an Asian man, holding a cellular phone, walk toward the apartment and speak to another man near the building. The subject was taken into custody after knocking on the door to the victim's apartment. The victim identified the subject as the same man who took the bag of $20,000 cash from her previously. 

            Zhaoxang told police he was contacted by another person who asked him to pick up a package from the female resident at that address. The man admitted that the package likely contained scammed money and that he was to be paid $800, according to court records.

            During a March 23 preliminary arraignment, Narberth District Judge Michael P. Quinn set bail in the case at $25,000 unsecured. A preliminary hearing before Katzman has been scheduled for 12:15 p.m. on April 10.






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