A New York City man has been charged with swindling 17 grandparents nationwide out of thousands of dollars by worrying them about their grandchildren.
Allah Justice McQueen of Brooklyn was arrested Friday. Bail was set at $500,000 during an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court. His lawyer hasn't immediately responded to a message.
Prosecutors say the 33-year-old McQueen and co-conspirators telephoned victims over the last year, posing as lawyers or law enforcement personnel.
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The government says the callers tricked people by saying a grandchild had been arrested on a drug charge and needed thousands of dollars immediately to avoid prison.
Prosecutors say one 79-year-old victim sent $6,000 for bail after a man claiming he was a police sergeant said it would get a grandson freed.