Sunday 5 July, 2020

Jamaican scammed out of life savings by 'fake pastor' in NY

Dorothy Edge in tears as she relays her story to journalists in New York.

Dorothy Edge in tears as she relays her story to journalists in New York.

Sixty-five-year-old Jamaican Dorothy Edge who resides in the United States has been scammed of her life savings ahead of realising her goal of returning home for retirement.

Edge, whose husband is ill, was conned out of US$28,000 ($3.6 million) by two persons on May 11, the Daily News reported.

The woman, who did baby-sitting, compiled the money inside her Brooklyn, New York home over the years, including when she could not open a bank account.

In recounting her misfortune, Edge said she was returning to her home in East Flatbush when a woman, who appeared to be in her 50s, approached her and struck up a conversation.

According to Edge, the woman claimed she was from South Africa and was in the US because her uncle had died. She said the woman claimed that her uncle left her $200,000, and she wanted to make a charitable donation, but was unable do it because she had to leave the country shortly.

Edge told the Daily News that was when the woman's partner - a man who also appeared to be in his 50s, who had a Bible in his pocket pretending to be a preacher - joined the conversation and promised to assist.

Edge said the woman showed her documents that appeared legitimate, and claimed that 'God sent me to meet you'. She said the woman also told her that she approached her because she looked honest.

Edge said she and the woman then accompanied the 'pastor' to his car, where he showed them what he claimed was US$40,000 in cash to prove he could be trusted.

The two con artists then asked Edge to prove the same, and she took them to her apartment and handed over the US$28,000 she had saved up to return to her homeland.

Edge reported that the two con artists wrapped her money in a handkerchief, ‘blessed’ it and placed it in the same bag they claimed to have put their money in.

The newspaper reported that the two then switched the bags before handing one of them to Edge, with instructions to take back her $28,000 and take responsibility for donating the remainder.

The elderly woman said she struggled to open the bag, and when she finally did, there was nothing but torn-up newspapers inside.

"I can't tell you what I think, my feet became very numb. I can't see myself in the mirror," Edge said after her discovery.

"I blame myself because I'm stupid, I'm downright stupid," Edge told the Daily News on Saturday, more than two weeks after the incident.

"It (appeared it) was a pastor, and that was the reason I didn't suspect him," she added. "If he had come up without the Bible and everything, I would have walked away," she said.

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