BRANCH COUNTY, Mich. — Most of the money was recovered after an elderly woman was scammed out of almost $4,000 last week.
The Branch County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday that at 10 a.m. Tuesday deputies responded to Southern Michigan Bank and Trust regarding evidence of fraud that had been detected.
Deputies and a bank investigation revealed that an 88-year-old woman from Coldwater Township had suddenly began withdrawing large sums of money in the thousands of dollars from the bank. When bank employees asked her about this, she said that for her protection she had been instructed “not to tell anyone about the her winnings of $2.55 million.”
The woman said she was told to pay taxes and fees for a new car and that these winnings were going to be presented to her at her residence in Coldwater Township.
During the preliminary investigation deputies learned that the victim had mailed payments of $450 and $3,400.82 to two different addresses in two different states. The most recent was to Burlington, N.C. Deputies and the postmaster tracked the envelope of cash, which had just left the Burlington post office with a mail carrier.
The envelope containing money was recovered and the $3,400.82 in cash was returned to the victim.
The other $450 was unrecoverable.
After several calls were recorded by a Branch County Sheriff’s Office detective, it was learned that there were several addresses in other states where other victims and layers of this scam continued with many other victims involved.
“Although this type of incident happens frequently, it is not as frequent that we recover monies, and the timing of this was everything,” said Branch County undersheriff Keith Eichler.
The Branch County Sheriff’s Office is reminding families and caregivers to be watchful of assets and proactive in discussion with those they oversee in an attempt to thwart thieves such as this from stealing and scamming the elderly.