VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A New Smyrna Beach-area man was scammed out of $40,000 by two men pretending to be law enforcement officers, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said two Ukrainian nationals, identified as Andriy Dankiv and Oleh Terekh, pretended to be federal and local law enforcement officers to scam the 77-year-old man. Authorities were able to arrest Dankiv, but Terekh fled the country.
According to a release, the investigation began on Thursday after the man sent $40,000 cash in a shoebox to a home in Hollywood, Florida, out of fear he would be arrested when he was told if he didn’t send money, he would be arrested for an intercepted drug shipment that was sent to his home.
Dankiv and Terekh arrived to the Hollywood area earlier this month. Dankiv, reportedly a professional soccer player in Canada, is or was a part of Toronto Atomic FC’s first team, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies said the men asked the 77-year-old to send more money to pay fees related to his bogus warrant, and the victim visited the bank to request more funds. He was denied after failing to give a reason for the withdrawal and his brother, who was a co-account holder, was called.
While deputies were with the victim and brother, the sheriff’s office said the scammers called the 77-year-old multiple times. Deputies said when the scammer was asked to provide a badge number, the person became angry and asked, “Who are you to ask me anything?”
After a Hollywood detective recovered a surveillance video that showed Terekh receiving the overnight package via UPS, a search warrant was ordered for the vacation rental. The warrant recovered $23,000 in cash and $34,000 in money orders, which were mostly linked to the victim.
The sheriff’s office said the money would be returned to the victim.
Dankiv faces a grand theft charge and an arrest warrant is being sought for Terekh, according to the sheriff’s office.