Gates Police: Man tries to collect money during scam that began with email about expiring account

Gates Police: Man tries to collect money during scam that began with email about expiring account

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

GATES, N.Y. — A man is in federal custody after Gates Police say he showed up to a woman’s house and tried to take her life savings. Police said the man was the last link in an elaborate, multi-person scam targeting the person.

Harpeet Singh, 29, is charged with attempted grand larceny and impersonating an officer to commit a felon. It all started when the Gates resident received an email telling her that her Netflix account was expiring. When she called the provided number, a scammer allegedly told her that she’d been the victim of a scam at her personal bank. Police say the scammer then transferred her to a person pretending to represent her bank.

That person allegedly requested the woman empty her bank account and hand the cash over to a “federal reserve agent” who would arrive at her home. 

This was when the woman got police involved, Chief Robert Long said. After four hours on the phone with the scammers, police arrived at her home.

“My officer took an envelope cut up some paper to the size of dollar bills, put it in an envelope,” Long said. “And we kind of set up a sting for the person coming here, saying that they were taking this money for safety as a federal reserve officer, and we were able to take them into custody without any problem.”

Long said that Singh entered the country illegally in 2023 through Arizona. He was allowed to remain in the States while waiting for his immigration hearing slated for March 2025. After his arraignment, he was released on an appearance ticket.

“There was a big concern [that Singh would flee] when I noticed that the report was done and we made the arrest and the person was released, you start to think,” Long said. “Okay, so this person has ties to another country, they came through Arizona, and now they’re in New York. Where are they going next? I mean, are they going to Oklahoma and we’ll never see them again on their crimes?”

On Wednesday morning, Long was notified that Singh had been taken into federal custody. We asked Long what would happen to someone’s immigration and potential deportation if they were sentenced to jail time at a local or state level.  

“[If] they received jail time on a local case — they would be transported to federal custody for those hearings,” Long said. “They would be brought there so those hearings could go on, and whatever side trumped the other side — if it was a federal case and they wanted to deport somebody — I believe that would take precedent over any local criminal cases.”

While this crime ended without a victim, Long said they get scammers trying to access savings accounts all too frequently. 

“These people are out there, they’re doing this,” Long said. “They target the elderly or people who don’t know what’s going on, and once they get you going down that rabbit hole from one person to another person to another person — they have you hook, line and sinker. And then they try to get as much or exploit you as much as they can.”

To learn how to avoid being a victim of a scam, click here.