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Suspected Con Artist Accused Of Bilking Seniors Across Riverside County

Investigators say the suspect randomly called elderly people, tricking them into believing he was their nephew or grandson who was in desperate need of money.

A Hemet man was arrested Wednesday after police say he extorted money from seniors in various cities, and investigators believe there are more victims.

Michael Cross, 51, was arrested around 10 a.m. and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of seven counts of extortion, 11 counts of attempted extortion and seven counts of elder abuse, according to a report from Sgt. Glenn Williams of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators from the Menifee Police Department served a search warrant at an address on Inez Street in Hemet looking for evidence in the case that currently involves crimes in various cities, according to Williams.

“The investigation revealed Cross randomly called numerous elderly people in the cities of Menifee, Perris, Beaumont and Cabazon and tricked them into believing he was their nephew or grandson who was in desperate need of money. Cross would tell the victim he needed money to get out of trouble and arrange for them to meet him at an ATM machine or restaurant parking lot,” Williams stated in his report.

Investigators believe there are several more people who are unaware they were victimized or possibly embarrassed they were conned by Cross, Williams continued.

The Sheriff's Department urges anyone who believes they were victimized by such a ruse to contact Investigator Jason Trudeau at the Perris Station Sheriff’s Station: (951) 210-1000, or email PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org.

Becky Honkington April 02, 2013 at 08:31 PM
You figured out my problem, Steve. I need to get a life. Thanks for enlightening me. I will get right on that.
Barbara R April 04, 2013 at 12:40 AM
I sent the Detective an email but he hasn't contacted me yet. Too many bad "neighbors" to keep up with, likely. Well folks, I'm off to enjoy SPRING!!

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