For release on April 10, 2013
***Cherie Bourlard, Deputy District Attorney
Elder Fraud Unit
SWEEPSTAKES SCAMMER JAILED FOR DUPING ELDERLY WOMAN OUT OF THOUSANDS
Jacqueline Dove, a 43-year-old Southern California woman, this morning was sentenced to nine months in jail for her part in a scam in which an elderly Santa Clara woman was duped out of much of her life savings thinking she had won a huge sweepstakes prize.
After the first theft, scammers pretended to be FBI, CIA and IRS agents who told the woman that she had been tricked, that her money had actually been stolen by killers, and that in order to clear her good name she must give them money.Dove drove to the scared victim’s house, where they exchanged the code phrase “In God We Trust.” Then the elderly woman handed over $10,000 more.
Dove was finally arrested late last year by a Santa Clara Police detective, who covertly arranged for Dove to come back and get $15,000 more. Dove pleaded guilty last month to Felony Theft by False Pretense of an Elder. The Hon. Judge Hector Ramon also today sentenced Dove to pay back all the stolen money to the victim.
“Predators are out there literally scouring databases for trusting, often elderly, people,’’ Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said. “They find them and trick every dime out of their victims that they can. Please be watchful. Be careful. Watch out for any signs that your relative or your neighbor is being targeted - and call police.”
Bourlard, who said that such elder abuse scams have become epidemic, praised the Santa Clara police for their thorough investigation.
This scam began in October, 2012, when the elderly woman received the thrilling news that she had won a $565,000 sweepstakes. All she needed to do to claim her money was to first send a “non-residential tax” fee of about $4,000 to an agent. Later she sent even more money.
Now a man called her, falsely identifying himself as an FBI agent, saying that she had not won a sweepstakes after all. She had been scammed, he said, by now arrested murderers. Her money had been used to buy guns. In order for her to avoid being sued she would have to send him $25,000. The victim sent an additional $22,000. She was then contacted by phony “CIA” and “IRS” agents, who sent Dove to her house to pick up more money. By the time the waves of scams were discovered by her family, the victim had been scammed out of $45,000.
Since Dove’s arrest, offenders - believed to be from Jamaica - continue to call the victim and ask for more money.