Scammer used church to get close to elderly targets - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Scammer used church to get close to elderly targets

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It's a new twist on an old scam, this time investing in the cattle market in Honduras.

Fraud victim Earlene Dean was fooled by a fellow church member.

"He is a very likable person." She said. "He is a Christian, a big church-goer, very active in the church and the entire time he was scamming all of us."

It was kind of an odd scam, involving investments in the Honduran cattle market. Earlene Dean was offered the plan with a promise that she'd get rich. What she didn't realize was that it was an old-fashioned Ponzi scheme.

"We invested pretty much everything we had with him." She says.

That investment turned into more than $100,000. Earlene's sister invested, too. She actually lost more money than Earlene.

Wanda Thompson's parents lost all of their retirement savings, close to $480,000. She says they received a couple of small "interest" checks as a way of diverting suspicion.

U.S. Postal Inspectors say the scammer victimized more than 40 elderly people and the losses totaled more than $2 million.

Postal Inspector Sony Ofchus said, "He was able to do this by being in the community, living in the community, earning their trust by to going to their home, then in their church."

Earlene Dean says she's learned her lesson and will keep her money in the bank where it is safe.

Police say the suspect was busted and sentenced to prison time.

 

 

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