Dec 09, 2008 News
By Dale Andrews
Several persons from as far as Corentyne and Linden are now coming out with some shocking revelations about a professional ‘con woman’ whom they claimed had fleeced and robbed them of thousands of their hard earned dollars and valuables.
More than 20 persons have reported being victim of the woman’s well planned schemes, and from all appearances, the woman preyed on the sympathy of her victims.
The police have confirmed that they have received several reports about a woman who fits the description of the con artist.
Most of the reports were made at Linden, where the woman reportedly conned several persons out of thousands of dollars before relocating to gullible victims on the Lower East Coast of Demerara.
There have been reports that disclosed the woman’s whereabouts, but she would somehow disappear in the nick of time whenever there are attempts to apprehend her.
The con artist normally uses one main ploy to break down her victims. She would first pretend that she is the owner of a dredging operation, and would even produce what appeared to be gold taped up in a piece of paper, which on many occasions fooled a lot of her victims.
Or she would sometimes tell victims that she was sick and needed cash for medical attention, promising to repay when she sells her gold. On every occasion, the woman disappeared after duping her victims.
One victim is Debra Coulthrust, a teacher of Section B, Pattensen, East Coast Demerara, who was hit for several thousand dollars in November.
According to Coulthrust, the woman, who was stopping at a friend’s house not far from hers, came to her and pretended that she was a dredge owner who had gold to sell but was not being offered the right price.
“She kept talking on her cellular phone as if she was transacting business, but at the time I did not have the slightest idea about what she was up to,” Coulthrust told this newspaper.
She said that the con artist explained that she was having problems with her tubes and needed $30,000 to see a doctor. The con woman even indicated that she needed money to feed her ‘staff’ in the interior.
“She even quoted a story about some house she has on the East Bank, and offered to let me stay there. I (felt) so sorry for her with her pregnancy, so I decided to lend her $20,000,” Coulthrust told this newspaper.
A day later, when Coulthrust contacted the woman on her cellular phone, the woman informed that she was at the bank encashing a cheque.
“I never saw her again, nor did I ever manage to make contact with her on her cell phone,” Coulthrust said.
For Coulthrust, warning about the woman came a bit too late.
She told Kaieteur News that a Linden woman, who had also been conned out of more than $100,000, had tried to warn her, but by then she had already parted with her money.
The con artist certainly was taking care to choose the right schemes for the right victims. Margaret Spencer, a shopkeeper of Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, is a typical case in point. Spencer’s husband is a truck driver who plies his trade in the interior.
The con artist must have known this, for she approached Spencer at her home and told her that her husband was sending out some money from the interior with Spencer’s husband. At the time Spencer’s husband was in the interior.
“She told me that she was from Fyrish, Corentyne and that her baby was sick and she had sold her phone to get money to travel to Georgetown for the money. She said she wanted to bring her baby to the Georgetown Public Hospital for treatment,” Spencer related.
The ploy worked, and Spencer gave the woman some money while she waited for her husband to return from the interior.
When Spencer’s husband arrived, she told him what had transpired, but after several calls to the interior, no one knew the name that the con artist had given for her husband.
The woman had really planned her scheme well, and she even had a female accomplice to assist her with her plan.
Spencer said that, a few days later, a woman who gave her name as Sister Debbie, from a Pentecostal church in Fyrish Village, telephoned her and told her that the woman’s sick child had died at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
This must have convinced Spencer that the woman’s plight was genuine, since, when the con woman returned to her home and told her that she wanted money to take the dead baby back to Berbice for burial, the shopkeeper gave in and offered her some more money.
But, since Spencer was a shopkeeper and had ready access to cash, the con woman was not satisfied.
She returned a few days later and informed Spencer that her father had arrived from Miami and was taking her back with him.
“She told me that her father had gone up the highway to visit someone and she was waiting for him to return to pick her up,” the business woman recalled.
The good-natured Spencer invited her to wait at her house. But the woman ended up staying until nightfall, and all the while she appeared to be speaking to someone on her cellular phone, pretending that it was her father.
As it got later and later, Spencer offered the woman dinner and a night gown, and invited her into her bedroom where she could rest a while until her father picked her up.
Spencer said that she had in her room a large amount of cash which represented a box hand, but at the time she never suspected that the woman meant any harm.
Later that evening Spencer’s daughter arrived home, and since she was annoyed with her daughter, Spencer took some time to let her in.
But the woman, who obviously wanted Spencer out of the room, kept urging her to open for her daughter, which the businesswoman eventually did. Spencer said that, shortly after she returned to the bedroom, the woman was on her cellular phone.
“She was saying, ‘Daddy, whey you deh? You want me to take a taxi?” I really felt that she was talking to someone. She said that she has to leave right away. At the time, I did not even think of the money that I had left in the room,” Spencer told Kaieteur News.
Spencer said that she even called a taxi for the woman, for the con artist insisted that she must leave right away.
She was desperate to leave before Spencer could discover her money missing. Eventually the taxi arrived and took the woman away. That was the last time Spencer laid eyes on the woman.
The following day, when the person who was supposed to receive the box hand arrived at her home to collect, Spencer received the shock of her life when she applied for the cash.
It had vanished, and Spencer immediately suspected that the woman to whom she had opened up her heart had taken it.
On reflection, Spencer said, the woman kept asking her if she wore any jewellery, since she would look good in them.
“I never heard back from her nor this sister Debbie. But my son saw her three weeks ago on Waterloo Street, but he was in a minibus and could not stop,” Spencer stated.
She said the woman gave her name as Samantha Anderson. From all reports, the woman gave her victims several different names.
A senior police official told this newspaper that the con artist’s rope is long but it will be cut someday. “She won’t get away for long,” the source said.
The official said that he hopes that the police will find her before any of her victims do. “There could be disastrous consequences if any of the persons she conned were to get to her first,” the source warned.
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