2 men plead guilty in phone extortion scheme

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say two men have pleaded guilty to scamming thousands of dollars from people across New York in an elaborate phone scam involving threats to kill the victims’ relatives.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and state police Superintendent George P. Beach II announced Tuesday 26-year-old Orlando Gonzalez-Rivera, of Syracuse, and Giovani Ayala-Rodriguez, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy.

The officials say Ayala-Rodriguez ran an extortion ring where they called people claiming the recipient’s loved one had been in an accident that injured his nephew. He claimed he had abducted the relative and threatened to harm them if a ransom wasn’t paid.

Authorities say the men scammed at least 55 people out of more than $14,000.

The case against a third man charged in the scheme is pending.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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