BEDFORD, Ohio - Bedford police say an 84-year-old woman was approached while leaving Dave's Supermarket in Cleveland and told she helped find a lost bag with $350,000 cash. The scam artists then told the woman it must be lost gambling money because the serial numbers weren't reported missing. Therefore, she could claim part of the money under a "Finders Keepers" law if she paid taxes up front.
Of course, police said the scam artists make up the whole story, overwhelm their target, claiming to work for a bank and show fake bank deposit slips, along with other phony bank forms.
In this newly reported case, the elderly woman withdrew $18,000 and told police she "feared for her life" when she realized it was a scam, adding the man and woman scammers then demanded her diamond ring, an heirloom belonging to her mother in the early 1900s.
The woman came forward last week after watching a story about the scammers striking all over northeast Ohio on NewsChannel5 on July 13.
Bedford Police Detective Dennis Bergansky said the woman now wants to inspire other possible victims to also come forward.
Bergansky said the group has targeted women between the ages of 60-84 years old in grocery store parking lots in Bedford, Beachwood, Maple Heights, Middleburg Heights, University Heights, South Euclid, Shaker Heights, Fairview Park, Cleveland and now they believe some in the group have moved into the Akron and Cuyahoga Falls areas.
Bedford police have charged two of the suspects with aggravated theft and kidnapping for getting into the car with the victims and pressuring them to drive to the bank and withdraw money.
But police are still looking for more people possibly working with the group and continuing the scam, even though two of their alleged fellow scam artists have been arrested.
Police said the allegations by the 84-year-old woman will probably lead to additional charges of robbery.
Anyone who was approached by people working this scam, whether they were duped out of money or not, is asked to call Bedford, Middleburg Heights or Shaker police departments. The trio have teamed up to crack down on the scam.
You can learn more about this scam, see the fake documents used and find out what "flash cash" is on NewsChannel5 at 5 p.m.
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