WARSAW — An Orleans County man was sentenced to state prison Thursday for his role in an elaborate “catfishing” scheme involving an unsuspecting Attica man.
Edward Simmons, 34, of Medina was sentenced to 16 months to four years in state prison by Judge Michael Mohun in Wyoming County Court.
Simmons had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and received the maximum sentence.
Simmons was one of four people, all from Medina, arrested in December after an investigation into the scam.
Attica police at the time said a village man was scammed out of several hundred dollars after he met a woman on a dating site in June 2020.
The woman began asking the man for money for medicine for her children and to fix her car, among other stories.
Sgt. Karl Zufall said the victim finally cut her off after giving her money.
Soon after the man was contacted by another woman, who began texting him and sending him photographs that Zufall said appeared to be pictures taken from the internet.
“She began to ask him for money, for car insurance and one time she told him she was in jail and needed bail money,” Zufall said at the time of the arrest.
The man gave her money but then cut her off.
The man soon was being contacted by a third woman.
“She told him that she was one of the girls’ mom and that the girl was 15,” Zufall said. “She told him that if he didn’t give her money, she would go to the police.”
The woman asked for $210 and the two met at TA Truck Stop in Pembroke.
“He gets back to Attica and someone calls him pretending to be a police officer,” Zufall said. “He tells him that there’s a warrant for his arrest and that he can take care of it if he pays him the $200 fine.
“The guy pretending to be an officer calls him back and tells him that his name came up in a prostitution sting,” Zufall said. “So he pays him another $200.”
The victim finally called village police.
A sting was set up and all four were arrested when they showed up at 7-Eleven, thinking they were going to get more money from the victim.
The cases against the other defendants remain pending.