Local News

Garner Police Search for "Sweetheart Swindler"

Posted September 4, 2001

— Garner police are investigating a case that may make you want to run a background check on your significant other. A woman's trust was violated and now she is left paying the bill.

Detectives call it a "sweetheart swindle."

"This type of crime is a lot more common than people think," says Garner police investigator Cathy Wood.

Wood says that the swindle started at Alcatel when employee Assan Sarr, 24, started dating a coworker.

The relationship was going well when Sarr told the woman that he had to go to Ohio to help his mother with the family business, a chain of unidentified distribution stores.

Police say that a short time later, Sarr called the woman and told her his mother wanted him to open one of the stores in the Triangle.

"He asked her if he could use her bank account until he could get here and get settled and get the store's bank account opened, and so she trusted that," says Wood.

Police say that Sarr sent the woman a $28,000 check made out in her name from a big Wisconsin company called Material Management Group. She deposited it in her account at the BB&T in Garner.

"Over the next two or three weeks, he had her withdraw anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 at a time until she had given him back all the money, supposedly to buy all the inventory for the store," says Wood.

Wood says that after the last withdrawal, the woman never heard from Sarr again. His phone was disconnected, and he disappeared.

About the same time, the woman got a call from Material Management's bank. An audit found the check was forged and the bank wanted their $28,000 back.

"Technically, her name was on the check. She deposited it, she made the withdrawals, so she's now responsible for all that money," says Wood.

Police say that this is an example of why you should never let anyone else use your bank account.

If you can help Garner Police track down Assan Sarr, call the Greater Triangle Crimestoppers hotline at

919-226-CRIME

and press 7 or call

919-226-2746

.

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