PRESS RELEASE - Arrest in Elderly Phone Scam
The Santa Clara Police Department arrested 24-year-old Vamshidhar Reddy Kotla of Fremont, California in connection with a nationwide phone scam targeting elderly victims.
On November 7, the Richland County Sheriff's Office in Richland, Montana contacted Santa Clara police investigators regarding a 77-year old victim from Sydney, Montana who was contacted by phone by an unknown party and convinced that his grandson had been arrested and needed bail money. Over the course of several days and phone calls, the victim was instructed to send over $20,000 to an address in Santa Clara.
Santa Clara police investigators set up surveillance at the pick-up location where they later observed Kotla arrive and retrieve the package. Kotla was detained and later arrested.
Through the course of their investigation, Santa Clara police investigators located additional packages of cash in Kotla’s possession from other victims throughout California. In total, four victims were identified and over $28,000 in cash was recovered.
Kotla is believed to be an operational member of a group that targets elderly victims with various phone scams. In addition to this case, Santa Clara residents have reported similar scams to SCPD related to Medicare, prescription drugs, funerals, anti-aging products, investments, sweepstakes/contests/lottery, mortgages, home improvement, IRS/taxes and utility services (e.g. phone, internet, etc.). Fraudsters use different tactics, generally over the phone or in person, to get victims to fall for their schemes. Instead of engaging with someone who has contacted you, hang up and initiate a call to the companies you interact with via the phone number on your bill/statement.
Residents are encouraged to be wary of phone calls where the caller is requesting money to be sent. When in doubt, call the Police Department at 408-615-4700. The State Attorney General’s Office also has information online about scams directed at seniors.
Date of Occurrence: November 7, 2018
Time: 6:08 A.M.
Incident: Arrest in Elderly Phone Scam
Name: Vamshidhar Reddy Kotla
Date of Birth: 5-22-1994
Case Number: 18-1107019