US & Canada

Man 'fakes own kidnap to con ransom money from mother'

Michael Sorbera Image copyright Nassau County Police
Image caption Police say they soon established Michael Sorbera "was not in extreme danger"

A New York man has been charged with faking his own abduction in a plot to con ransom money out of his mother.

Michael Sorbera, 31, of Long Island, sent text messages to his widowed mother on Friday saying he was in trouble, Nassau County police said.

The 62-year-old woman received a call apparently from another man on her son's phone, telling her to wire money to Western Union in her son's name.

The unidentified man threatened to harm her and her son if she refused.

During the phone call, Mr Sorbera, a construction worker, went on the line to tell his mother he had been kidnapped and to implore her to send the money, police say.

But instead of transferring the cash - the amount was not specified by investigators - she called police.

Investigators say they found Mr Sorbera at his home in the town of Huntington, established the abduction was bogus and arrested him.

"It was determined he was not kidnapped," Nassau Police spokesman Steve Zacchia told WCBS-Radio.

"He was not in extreme danger."

Mr Sorbera was arraigned on Saturday on two felony counts of second-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy.

The accused appeared close with his mother on social media, writing in a Mother's Day Facebook post in May: "Love you mom, hope you have a great day!"

He added: "Without you I would not be where I am today. You are truly one of a kind, a motivating force of positivity, and love."

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