The Boldness of Scammers
A local 84 year old widow was having memory impairment issues and being exploited by scammers who we believe were from Jaimaca. She was writing them checks in the thousands of dollars in exchange for a prize that didn't exist.
The turning point in the case came when somebody at her bank became suspicious of the large checks and alerted authorities.
However, despite the hard work and persistence by law enforcement and the victim's family, the bad guys were getting more and more bold. For example, when the victim's phone number was being changed to stop the fraudulent calls, the scammers would actually call the sheriff's office to "see if she was okay" because as long as they knew she was alive and in the home they were going to keep trying to get more money. In fact, when a detective was going out to the victim's home to investigate, she was already packing her bags to catch an airplane to pick up her prize.
Although it was too late to stop the more than $50,000 she sent the scammers, the bank was able to stop payments of $15,000 and $10,000. There were many other checks that had been written and ready to send, a total of approximately $150,000!
Through an emergency temporary guardianship, we were able to get her into a safe place and prevent more problems. I was her court-appointed attorney and during the process family members were concerned that the guardianship would splinter their individual relationships. However, that never happened, which was rewarding.
Today, despite the victim's memory impairment issues, she cherishes independence and can function somewhat on her own with her daughter as guardian. The woman is safe in an assisted living facility and it has worked out well, considering the further damage that could have happened.
We utilized the least invasive methods available, allowing the woman to have as much freedom as she could, which should be the goal whenever possible.