RED BANK: COPS ARREST MAN IN FRAUD TRY

[UPDATE, AUGUST 9, 2019: The charges described below against Phinehas Alabi were dismissed on July 18, 2019 by Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley.]

Red Bank police arrested a onetime professional soccer prospect Tuesday in an alleged fraud case that should serve as a warning to all consumers, Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

Phinehas Alabi, 24, of Orange, was nabbed at the Manor Drive apartment complex on Spring Street as result of an ongoing fraud investigation. McConnell said.

The probe, he said, centered on a group of individuals who fraudulently obtain credit card or other account information from unknowing victims and order App iPhones, which they have shipped to the victim’s address. The suspects then intercept the package at the victim’s home, he said.

In this case, police allege, Alabi used the Xfinity account of a Red Bank resident to have four iPhones delivered to a Manor Drive residence.

During the course of an existing investigation, Sergeant Robert Campanella became aware that Alabi was on the way to grab the shipment, McConnell said, declining to offer more information.

Alabi was taken into custody by patrol officers as he left the area without obtaining the merchandise, McConnell said.

Alabi was was charged with third-degree criminal attempted theft and released pending arraignment. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending, McConnell said.

McConnell said a similar case in Red Bank was also reported, and that others elsewhere indicate that the scam is widespread. “We know this is an ongoing pattern, and it appears to be organized,” he said.

The incidents underscore the importance to consumers of monitoring their credit and other accounts, he said. Anyone who receives an email or notification that an item they did not order is being shipped should contact the police department immediately, he said.

In the Manor Drive case, the victim did receive an email about the shipment, but ignored it as marketing material, he said.

An undated feature article on the soccer website Goal.com profiled Alabi at age 21, describing him as a rising soccer star from Ghana newly living in the United States.

Another website said he was an All-Conference soccer player for Essex County College in 2012. McConnell confirmed he is the man police arrested.