BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- A Bonita Springs man allegedly threatened an elderly woman after a car accident led to a fraud and exploitation incident with the suspect's son. The suspect told the victim if she "dropped charges" against his son, he would make it all go away and she would owe no money.
The story begins on April 19, 2012, when the Lee County Sheriff's Office received a call at 27670 South View Drive, Unit 136, in Bonita Springs, in reference to a grand theft.
The investigation revealed on March 8, the victim was involved in a minor accident when she backed her vehicle into another. The other vehicle was operated by 65-year-old Dzelal Arapi. Arapi’s adult son, 30-year-old Gjergi Arapi, was a passenger in the vehicle during the incident. Dzelal Arapi and the victim agreed to settle the issue of the damage without filing a crash report.
Two days later, the son, Gjergi Arapi, approached the victim with a written estimate of damage for $1,475.00 from a tow company in Naples. He advised the victim it was a “cash only” estimate. The elderly victim is on a fixed income and she did not have enough cash at the time so she only gave him $100.00. He returned the following day for the remaining balance.
Two days after the victim made payment, the father, Dzelal Arapi came to the victim with a repair estimate of $110.00. The victim advised she already paid the son $1,475.00. The repairs to the vehicle had never been completed.
The victim realized she had been taken advantage of and called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. At the conclusion of an investigation, Gjergi Arapi was arrested on April 24, and charged with Scheme to Defraud, Exploitation of the Elderly, Uttering a False Instrument (tow receipt), Grand Theft and Violation of Probation.
On May 1, the Lee County Sheriff's Office was contacted regarding possible threats against the victim from the family of Gjergi Arapi. This investigation revealed Dzelal Arapi went to victim’s residence and began to speak with her about the incident. It was at this time that he told the victim if she "dropped charges" against his son he would make it all go away and she would owe no money. He also presented the victim with a new “estimate” of $1,200.00. The elderly victim was frightened and called to report the incident. She said she was "scared" of both him and his family due to threats, the demands for money and the request to drop the charges.
An investigation into these new allegations resulted in the arrest of Dzelal Arapi for Witness Tampering.