HEMET – Menifee police investigators arrested a man in Hemet for numerous counts of extorting or attempting to extort senior residents in several cities.
On Wednesday, March 27, Menifee police investigators knocked on the door of Michael Cross, 51 years old, in Hemet. The warrant they had in hand was regarding numerous reports of conning older residents out of money through convincing them that they were helping a relative. Investigators were in search of evidence that would link Cross to multiple cases of extortion in the cities of Menifee, Perris, Beaumont and Cabazon.
The investigation uncovered a common, but effective con. It is believed that Cross called numerous and random residents in Riverside County cities claiming to be a grandson or a nephew. If the elderly residents took the bait, Cross continued the con by claiming to be in dire straits and in desperate need of cash. Victims that fell for this ruse would then meet Cross at an ATM or restaurant parking lot. Cross purportedly claimed to be a friend of the relative and collected the money.
Following the search, investigators felt they had enough evidence to arrest Cross at his address on Inez St in the city of Hemet. Cross was booked into the Robert Presley Detentions Center and charged with seven counts of extortion, 11 counts of attempted extortion and seven counts of elder abuse.
Investigators believe that several more victims may be involved in this case but may either be unaware that it was a ruse or are too embarrassed to come forward and report the crime. The Sheriff’s Department urges anyone whose has or who believes a family member has fallen victim to a scam sounding similar to please contact Jason Trudeau at the Perris Station by calling (951) 210-1000 or email the Perris Station at PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org.
Press Enterprise: PHONE SCAM: Man accused of targeting Inland seniors
Temecula Patch: Suspected Con Artist Accused Of Bilking Seniors Across Riverside County