A NYC Defense Attorney Explains the Pigeon Drop Scam & Possible Penalties
Pigeon drops are scams aimed at getting an individual to provide money in exchange for promises of a share of a larger amount of money in the future. Once the person being scammed provides the up-front funds, that individual never sees the promised future cash. There are different approaches to pigeon drops, but they usually involve at least two people participating together in the scam process.
If you are accused of being involved in a pigeon drop scheme, you can be charged with criminal acts not only for your own behavior, but also for any actions of co-conspirators which are considered unlawful. Fighting against charges is essential, as you can be charged with theft and other serious federal or state offenses. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC will help you try to protect your money and freedom by avoiding conviction or reducing penalties you face.
How Does the Pigeon Scam Work?
The pigeon scam usually involves approaching someone in public. The person who is approached is usually an elderly person, but not always. The goal is to get this victim who has been approached to part with a large sum of money. There are different ways to convince the person who has been approached, but the central feature of the scam is that a large sum of money has been found which can be shared.
Often, the first person who approaches the victim simply starts talking with the individual to gain trust. A second person involved in the scam then “finds” a wallet or a bag with a lot of money in it. The second person approaches the victim and the other accomplice and offers to share the money in exchange for help deciding what to do with it. There are different variations of the scam, with different explanations of where the money came from and why the person who found it needs help to deal with it.
One of the two scammers may claim to have a “boss” who is in some official position, like a boss who is a lawyer or a banker. The “boss” is called and provides information which says that the victim and people participating in the scam can keep the cash. However, there is a catch. The three people need to put in some money up front, for some reason. For example, the victim may need to put in up front cash as a show of good faith or to prove he can manage large sums of money or to pay the “boss” for making the found money look legitimate or as collateral to prove the cash is legitimate.
Once the victim puts up the cash, those involved in the scam make up a reason why they must take the money somewhere, like taking it to the boss or taking it to the bank. The victim is out the money he provided to those perpetrating the scam.
Penalties for Participation in a Pigeon Drop Scam
Participation in the pigeon drop scam can be considered theft, which is illegal under both federal law and state law. The penalties vary depending upon how much money has been stolen in the fraud scheme. When large sums are stolen, defendants can be charged with a felony offense and face a lengthy jail sentence. Defendants may face a variety of other criminal charges depending upon the methods used to defraud their victim .
Penalties may include not just imprisonment, but also a requirement to make restitution to victims. The financial consequences and loss of freedom can be life changing for defendants who have been charged- if they are convicted. Fighting the charges and either securing a not guilty verdict or negotiating a plea agreement can make it possible to avoid or reduce penalties.
How a NY Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can provide invaluable legal advice and assistance to defendants accused of involvement with a pigeon drop scam. Give us a call for help as soon as you have been charged with participating in a scheme to defraud.