Local News

Durham Woman Accused of Scamming Seniors Turns Herself In

Posted May 24, 1999

— A woman accused of bilking several elderly Durham residents out of thousands of dollars turned herself in Tuesday morning. Police say she may be part of an even bigger nationwide crime ring.

Durham Police say Beatrice McCollum may be part of a multi-state credit card fraud ring.

TheFBIcame Tuesday to question McCollum. Several federal charges are filed, but they are investigating alleged interstate credit card fraud.

A Cary Police investigator says there are warrants out on McCollum for check fraud there. And WRAL was also told investigators in Halifax, Va. want to question her on some outstanding warrants.

McCollum is in the Durham County jail on a $1 million bond. The charges are for allegedly bilking some elderly residents out of fraudulent home equity loans.

Durham Police thought they were in for a lengthy search for McCollum and were surprised it wrapped up so quickly.

McCollum was not happy to see the cameras while she was being booked, but Durham Police were very happy to have McCollum in custody.

Investigators say she is responsible for defrauding three Durham senior citizens out of $200,000 in bogus home equity loans.

"We're hoping that she's cooperative in identifying any other people who are about to be scammed. We'd love to head that off," said Durham Police Cpl. Fran Borden.

"We're getting excellent cooperation from the financial institutions," he said. "First Unionhas been great in helping us put this investigation together."

Durham Police were glad First Union will not hold the residents liable for the money they lost.

Police are now looking for other possible victims, and they do not know how much cooperation they will get from the suspect.

They believe she was a flight risk, which is why they put the $1 million bond on her. She ran from authorities Monday, but turned herself in Tuesday.

They believe the publicity may have pressured her into giving up.

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