By Ryan Velez
We reported some time ago of a woman losing a large sum of money in a “pigeon drop” scam, trying to help someone in need with the promise of money being repaid with interest, only to be tricked and left holding scraps of paper. NBC Washington reports that a similar scam has taken place in Maryland, leaving a woman out of $24,000.
Detectives in Charles County, Maryland, are currently searching for two men who scammed a woman out of $16,000 in cash, plus convinced her to buy three Apple laptops worth a total of $8,400. One of the men told the woman, who was not named by police, that he would give her a portion of $80,000 that he won, but ended up giving her a handkerchief full of shredded paper. Police describe the first of the suspects as a Black man in his 60s with a gray beard. He was wearing a blue hat at the time of the crime. The second man is Black and in his 30s, police said. He has black hair, a trimmed beard and glasses. Both men were wearing suits.
This complex scam started with the man telling the woman he won $80,000 from a civil lawsuit and needed help distributing the money to a church or two friends. The second man, posing as a stranger, said that he could not bank in his home country, and needed the other two to help in exchange for portions of the cash. The second man then withdrew money and gave it to the first in a handkerchief along with what looked like some of his money.
Where the scam went underway is when the woman withdrew $7,000 at one bank and $9,000 at a second bank. They added that money to the handkerchief and prayed over it, and the man mentioned his daughters needed laptops on the way, the woman buying them at a Waldorf. When the three went to put the cash into the woman’s bank account, the men fled after she got out, leaving her with the false money.
Police warn that if a stranger approaches and says they want to share money with you, "it's definitely a con."
Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to call 866-411-TIPS. A reward of as much as $1,000 is offered.