Several years ago, a 70-something grandma in Florida fell victim to ye olde Nigerian e-mail scam, losing $10K in the process. But instead of moping and whining about it, the resourceful retiree learned from her mistake — literally — because police have accused her of earning over $1 million by running a similar scam on her friends.
Here’s how the now-78-year-old woman allegedly fleeced her pals for amounts ranging from $300 to $330,000. Police say she told them she had won the lottery and needed a lump of cash to pay the taxes on her winnings before she could receive it. And once the lotto loot was in her hands, she would pay them back double the amount loaned.
“She seemed like the most sincere, sweetest woman you’d ever want to meet in your life. She knows exactly what she was doing,” one duped friend, who gave the suspect $22K in cash and also pawned precious jewelry, told ABC News. “That woman’s got me for everything I ever had. Talked me out of every penny of my life savings. I truly thought I was helping this sweet little old lady.”
The alleged scammer had another story she told her marks — that she needed the money for an orphanage in Guatemala.
“She said she had a mission in Guatemala somewhere and she was supporting it and some of our church members gave money for it,” said the pastor of the suspect’s church.
Police say it is possible that the suspect could have been bilking people because she truly believed that the original scam money was still coming to her.
“We don’t know yet if the money was for personal use, living, or if she sent it over for this lottery,” the local chief of police said. “Even if she was duped and still believed she would get this money eventually from the Nigerians, she is still lying to those people and telling them it was legitimate… If she sent it away to these guys [in Holland], we’re never getting any of it back.”