A New Jersey man is accused of trying to con a woman into giving him $330,000 in gold bars.
Gaurang Contractor, 38, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted larceny from a person over 60 and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle with intent to commit a felony. A judge in Eastern Hampshire District Court ordered him held on $20,000 bail.
Contractor was arrested after an Athol resident told the Hadley Police Department that she may have been the victim of a scam.
The Hadley Police Department detailed the alleged crime and the arrest in a Facebook post:
The scam involved an individual claiming to be a government official investigating an identity fraud ring and saying they suspected the victim as involved in the fraud. In order to “avoid prosecution” the person told the victim, she had to purchase $330,000 in gold bars from Hannoush Jewelers in Hadley and provide that gold to a federal court officer who would pick up the gold.
After consulting with the FBI, it was decided to launch a joint operation in an attempt to identify the suspects. On Aug. 8, that operation, involving the Hadley Police Department, Northampton Police Department, FBI, and Hampshire/Franklin County Anti-Crime Task Force commenced. The operation involved leading the suspects to believe that they would be provided the gold and that it would be left in a car at Texas Roadhouse in Hadley.
During the operation, officers quickly identified a black BMW surveilling the area and observed that it began following the undercover vehicle that had been identified to the suspects as the victim’s car.
After the vehicle was parked at Texas Roadhouse, the subject driving the black BMW entered the undercover vehicle, obtained the two containers that contained fake gold and began to leave the parking lot. It was then that local and federal agents moved into the area, at which point the suspect attempted to evade officers. Officers quickly boxed in the suspect and he was taken into custody.
The case was continued for a pretrial conference on Aug. 31. The investigation continues and federal charges may be pending, police stated.