Vidalia Police make arrested in alleged scam that victimized elderly

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

VIDALIA, La. — Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill reported today in a social media post that his department has made an arrest in a fraud scheme that allegedly cost one senior citizen more than $14,000.

Arrested was Fakhrun Nisa, who has been charged with criminal conspiracy, felony theft, identity theft, access device fraud, illegal transmission, issuing worthless checks, bank fraud, forgery, monetary instrument abuse and computer fraud.

Merrill said the Vidalia Police Department began investigating the scam in October when they learned the victims would receive unsolicited phone calls offering to upgrade their existing cable/satellite TV reception, as well as lowering their monthly bill. The caller said the company called itself Planned Upgrade LLC.

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In exchange for the remote upgrade service, the victims would mail a check to a post office box in Vidalia, Merrill said in his post.

Upon receiving the check, it would be deposited locally, then a large portion would be wire transferred to a subject in a foreign country.

“One victim was found to have her original check counterfeited approximately 200 times with a total loss and damages totaling almost $14,000,” Merrill said.

A search warrant was obtained and executed on a residence in Vidalia. Evidence obtained as a result of the search warrant, along with the interview of the suspect involved, was enough to lead to an arrest, he said.

“Detectives learned as a result of the investigation that the targeted victims are the elderly and retired,” Merrill said.

The investigation is ongoing. Merrill said he tries to provide the best protection possible for elderly residents.

“We are not going to tolerate fraud or people taking advantage of our seniors,” he said.

Anyone with information or who thinks they have been a victim of this scam is asked to call the Vidalia Police Department at 318-336-5254.