As if dating apps weren't terrifying enough as it is just trying to make a connection with people! A New Windsor Man scammed a victim out of $80,000 after meeting on a dating app.

District Attorney Hoovler and Sheriff Arteta Announces Arrest in Dating Fraud Larceny Case

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Sheriff Paul Arteta announced that the Orange County Joint White-Collar Crimes Taskforce has completed its investigation into the theft of approximately $80,000 from the victim who had met the perpetrator through a dating website.

District Attorney David Hoovler said,

“Being the victim of a violent crime is certainly a life altering experience, but being defrauded out of large sums of money by those who have gained your trust can also negatively affect victims’ lives for years. I am grateful to Sheriff Paul Arteta, and the other police agencies who have joined the Joint White Collar Crimes Task Force for recognizing the substantial manpower and commitment necessary to pursue complicated financial fraud cases. Law enforcement works best when its efforts are coordinated, cooperative and focused.”

On July 19, 2023, Michael Benedetto, age 21, who is currently without a residence, was arrested and charged in the Town of New Windsor Justice Court with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, for having defrauded a person he had been dating. It is alleged that Benedetto had defrauded the victim by telling them a series of lies that induced her to give him money under false pretenses. After conducting an investigation, the Orange County Joint White Collar Crimes Task Force determined that Benedetto's documented requests for money which were based on a series of false statements to the victim constituted a Grand Larceny by false pretenses.

New Windsor Man Scams Person Out of $80,000 After Meeting on Bumble

The victim was matched with Benedetto on the dating app Bumble back in June of 2020. The two began a relationship shortly after. During the relationship, Benedetto claimed he needed money for false reasons, including having a sick dog, medical procedures, and moving costs due to a new home purchase. The victim reported a loss of about $80,000 to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Arteta said,

“These types of crimes are happening all around us, many unknowingly; deceitful criminals use many crafty tactics to gain your trust. It is unfortunate that we have to be on the defense in these situations. Think about what a loss of $80,000 would do to you or your family; it is a devastating reality for these victims. Our partnership with DA Hoovler and his staff is vital to holding the perpetrators accountable.”

The investigation was opened under the auspices of the Orange County Joint White Collar Crimes Task Force, which was created by District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Sheriff Paul Arteta in March 2023. Benedetto was arrested on the morning of July 19th in a Home Depot parking lot. He was charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. Benedetto faces up to five to fifteen years in prison if convicted. Because of recent law changes, bail cannot be set in Benedetto's case. He is scheduled to return to the Town of New Windsor Justice Court on July 25th of this year.

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