Bomb threat at Sunnyside bank part of scam

Last Thursday at approximately 11:40 a.m. an alarm was sounded at Sunnyside's Bank of America branch, alerting police to a bomb threat.

According to FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Frank Harrill, "It is a complex situation."

He said the situation "appeared to be an unusual, but dangerous twist on an increasingly common fraud scheme."

The 35-year-old Sunnyside man taken into custody as a result of the incident continues to be a person of interest, but it is the FBI's belief the man was a victim in the incident.

The subject had been "duped" into believing he was a winner of an international lottery, according to Harrill.

During an attempt to claim his prize, the subject called the "fraudster" from the bank. Harrill said the phone was handed to a bank employee.

He said the "fraudster" conveyed a bomb threat to the bank once the employee was on the line.

The employee sounded an alarm, as a result of the threat.

"The ensuing law enforcement response unnecessarily consumed a great deal of resources, producing a potentially dangerous situation," said Harrill.

He said the scenario is a reminder to all citizens that "...there is no such thing as an international lottery, either via telephone, mail or the internet."

Harrill said no person should have to make a payment to receive a prize of any kind, and wire transfers do not have any recourse.

"Western Union, Moneygram or wire transfers of any type should be sent to an individual one knows personally or for whom ID is confirmed in some physical way," said Harrill.

"The bank employees and law enforcement acted in a professional manner (Thursday), diffusing what could have been a dangerous and tragic incident," he commented.


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