4 Philly-area men charged in $700,000 scam targeting seniors

Four Philadelphia area men have been arrested and charged in a $700,000 scam that targeted seniors throughout the commonwealth.

Officials in Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly’s office say they know of 218 seniors who were bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for services they never received.

The four suspects have been charged with selling bogus safety equipment, shopping services, and even assistance with insurance. They have been identified as Bruce Cherry and Robert Lerner, both of Philadelphia; Ross Rabelow of Bucks County; and Thomas Muldoon of Delaware County.

Two of the men had worked previously in a legitimate insurance company together, which was how they knew some of the seniors they allegedly targeted, according to Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the attorney general.

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Many cases document the men simply canvassing neighborhoods for clients.

“There are a number of different forms of contact, but most of it we believe was simply cold calls, just approaching seniors directly in their home, to see if they were interested in buying these services,” Frederiksen said Tuesday.

The attorney general’s office, which also has found victims in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, is keeping the investigation open to find other potential victims.

Most of the services were sold under the names of two companies, called American Comfort Home Care Services and Global Services for the Home.

The services included “shopping or house cleaning, helping them get dressed, helping them get organized, anything that they would need around the home if they became sick or disabled or injured or were recovering from medical procedures,” Frederiksen said.

One victim, a 79-year-old central Pennsylvania widow, received more than 40 sales calls from two of the suspects, he said.

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