SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A man accused of being involved in a scam that was seeking thousands in gold and cash appeared in court Thursday morning. Abdul Mohammad, a 31-year-old, is accused of two felony charges. One is a class three felony for grand theft, and the second is a class four felony for conspiracy to commit grand theft. Both are punishable by time in prison or thousands of dollars in fines.
Mohammad is accused of scamming an elderly woman out of more than $100,000.
“That is a pretty significant amount. I’ve been in this business for a long time with law enforcement. And when I was doing property crime several years ago a large amount would be like, 15 to 20 or $30,000 range. So this is pretty significant. $100,000 is a lot,” said Sgt. Jason Mitzel, Criminal Investigations Division at Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials say that it’s rare they get to make an arrest in scam cases. This one being one of the largest amounts they’ve seen.
“Rarely do we make an arrest on these, we were fortunate to have information with this particular case. And we were able to make an arrest, which is a win for us. And it’s also a win for the victim. More often than not, our victims are typically out that money, it can be an expensive learning lesson,” said Mitzel.
Jessie Schmidt, vice president for the Better Business Bureau in Sioux Falls says scammers often strategically target older people.
“They have retirement accounts, they have perhaps pension accounts, all things that are seen as cash and typically large sums available. So that’s why scammers go after these seniors in this particular scam,” said Jessie Schmidt, vice present of the BBB.
She hopes this case will send a message to other scammers.
“So the fact that we were able to catch this individual I think is very significant, and hopefully will be a warning to others who would like to perpetrate that crime in South Dakota,” said Schmidt.
Mohammad’s bail is set at $100,000 with his next court appearance scheduled for October 11. Pennington County authorities say he is not from South Dakota. Online court records list his address as Greenwood Indiana.