New Smyrna Beach man scammed by ex-Canadian soccer player
Ukrainian, who played professional football as a midfielder for Toronto Atomic Football Club in Canada, has been arrested in Florida for defrauding thousands of dollars from an Alzheimer’s victim in New Smyrna Beach Volusia County Sheriff’s Office investigators said.
Andriy Dankiv, 34, was arrested Monday at a Hollywood vacation home where the 77-year-old New Smyrna Beach man with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease sent $ 40,000 in a shoebox, said Volusia Sheriff’s spokesperson Andrew Gant.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he would work with other agencies to try to find out more about the professional football player who victimized a Volusia County resident.
“I would be interested to know if it is linked to organized crime,” Chitwood said. “He and his bastard partner hired two Airbnbs in Hollywood to commit the crime.”
Dankiv was charged with robbery after officers from the Hollywood Police Department and Homeland Security arrested him at the home where the victim’s money was collected, Gant said.
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Another Ukrainian national, Oleh Terekh, suspected of being Dankiv’s accomplice, fled the country and an arrest warrant has been issued for him, Gant said.
Although online media shows Dankiv started playing for Toronto Atomic FC in 2015, the club’s 2021 roster does not list him as a midfielder, according to the football club’s website.
A spokesperson for Toronto Atomic FC said by email on Tuesday that Dankiv last played for the club for the 2016 season and had not contacted club officials since then.
Volusia County Sheriff’s detectives began investigating the scam involving Dankiv on Thursday after New Smyrna Beach police alerted them that the victim and her brother were on their ward to report the crime, according to a report.
According to investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Dankiv and Terekh posed as federal officials, and one even claimed to be a New Smyrna Beach police officer working with Customs and the US Border Patrol- United, sheriff investigators said.
They called the victim to tell him that a shipment of drugs bound for his New Smyrna Beach home had been intercepted and an arrest warrant had been issued against his arrest, according to a report.
Dankiv and Terekh told the 77-year-old that he could avoid being arrested if he sent them $ 40,000 in a shoebox at 412 S. 28th Ave. at Hollywood. The victim withdrew the money from a bank and sent it via UPS to the Hollywood home, investigators said.
After receiving the money, Dankiv and Terekh called the victim again and asked for more money, saying it was for warrant fees, according to an incident report.
When the victim went to a second bank to withdraw money from a joint account he had with his brother, the bank alerted the younger brother after the victim was unable to explain why he was withdrawing the money, investigators said.
Volusia Sheriff’s detectives working with Homeland Security officers and police in Hollywood then identified Dankiv and Terekh as the phone scam suspects, authorities said.
Sheriff’s office detectives, assisted by the Hollywood Police Department and Homeland Security, learned that Dankiv and Terekh had arrived in the area earlier this month. Hollywood police obtained video surveillance showing the UPS driver delivering the package to Terekh, then obtained a search warrant for the property, Gant said.
Dankiv was arrested at the house when a search warrant was served. Inside the house, investigators found $ 23,000 in cash and $ 34,000 in warrants, mostly related to the victim’s money from New Smyrna Beach, Gant said.
Another $ 10,000 bundle belonging to another victim was also recovered, investigators said.
Second major scam in Volusia
The Dankiv case is the second recent major scam case where detectives in Volusia were able to make an arrest and recover tens of thousands of dollars for the victim.
In May, Sheriff’s detectives seized the bank accounts of a suspect in Las Vegas who scammed a New Smyrna Beach-area woman over $ 41,000. This suspect, Jeffrey Sorgatz, was later extradited to Volusia County to face a robbery charge over $ 20,000.
Sorgatz deceived an 80-year-old woman from the New Smyrna Beach area into telling her that he was a New York computer expert and that hackers had accessed her computer and stole her information, sheriff investigators said.
Sorgatz told the victim to send him a check for $ 20,000, which she did. In a follow-up phone call from an appellant claiming to be from the sheriff’s office, the victim was asked to send a second check for $ 21,000. Both checks were made out to Sorgatz, the sheriff’s investigators.
Sorgatz was released from prison on $ 50,000 bail.
“Off the Charts” Phone and Internet Scams
Phone and internet scams like the Dankiv affair targeting elderly people with failing faculties are so widespread that they “are off the charts,” Chitwood said.
The biggest scam plaguing the country is where scammers use Uber drivers to collect money from elderly people, scammers call to tell them their grandchildren are in trouble with the law. This nationwide scam is being investigated by agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and suspects have been identified, the sheriff said.
“The Uber driver scam is present across the country, on the northeast, southeast, southwest and west coasts,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood said he was also called by crooks about collecting Social Security, but insulted them. He offered the following tips to residents of Volusia County so that they do not fall victim to fraudulent phone calls.
“First of all, if you don’t know the number, don’t answer. And if they leave a message, don’t call back,” Chitwood said.
“Second, if you think the call is suspicious, always call law enforcement. And third, if you answer the call, never give out information such as your address, social security number or any other information that no one else is supposed to have. “
“The Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, Power Companies, Law Enforcement will never call you to ask you to send money or tell you to go to the dollar store to buy payment cards to send, ”Chitwood said.