A 21-year-old woman from another state was recently sentenced by a Muskegon County Circuit Judge after pleading guilty to fraud in obtaining funds and property by false pretenses in Michigan. According to court documents, this woman's white collar crimes involved conning an 83-year-old man she met on a plane flight. She used a false name and pretended to be a cancer sufferer who was struggling to care for two children while she waited for a financial settlement. She asked for his help, promising to pay him back.
The victim, who was retired and living on disability benefits and Social Security, felt sorry for her and reportedly bought her a car to make it easier for her to get to her medical appointments. However, it was determined that she opened several credit cards in his name and spent a lot of time traveling in the company of her boyfriend. During these trips, she reportedly spent thousands of dollars on designer products, including cosmetics and shoes.
The man's children became suspicious upon checking his credit card and bank statements. They reported the matter to the Michigan State Police, and an investigation led to the arrest of the woman when she and her boyfriend were stopped in Maryland. At that time, officers found jewelry, three gold bars and cash totaling $18,900 in her possession. She was recently sentenced to a prison term of from four to 15 years and ordered to pay $65,000 in restitution (an amount to which she agreed at the time of her guilty plea), along with the yield from the sale of the seized vehicle. Reportedly, the woman has a history of defrauding unsuspecting older men.
Prosecutors claim that the woman defrauded the pensioner of property having a total value of $115,000, though only a fraction of it was actually obtained within Muskegon County. Accordingly, she was charged with, and ultimately pleaded guilty to, obtaining property by false pretenses that had a value of between $20,000 and $50,000. It appears the woman chose to plead guilty in the hope that the court would take her cooperation into account at the time of sentencing. Nevertheless, the court ultimately found that her white collar crimes justified a sentence exceeding the minimum guidelines of from five to 17 months.
Source: mlive.com, "Woman once on 'Dateline NB'' gets prison for scamming Korean War vet out of more than $100k", John S. Hausman, Oct. 3, 2015