Local News

Some money lost in scam returned to Raleigh woman

Posted March 11, 2013

— The family of an elderly Raleigh woman defrauded of nearly $200,000 by Jamaican scam artists received a $45,000 check Monday, authorities said.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Jamaican Constabulary Force recovered the money for her as part of Project JOLT, which combats Jamaica-based telemarketing fraud.

The 92-year-old woman received information in May 2012 that she had won a lottery prize, and a man later contacted her and said she owed $9,000 in taxes and other expenses to receive her prize.

Her son-in-law, Wayne Rettinger said the phone calls continued and the demands for money increased.

"We quit answering the phone," he said. "We got hundreds of phone calls. They would call every five minutes."

The scam artists cheated her out of nearly $200,000 before she reported the scam to law enforcement, authorities said.

ICE recovers some of 92-year-old woman's life savings ICE recovers some of 92-year-old woman's life savings

Authorities were able to locate a bank account at the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica where the woman's money had been deposited and were able to get about $45,000 of it back.

The case remains under investigation.

"This is what they're job is," Tom O'Connell, resident agent-in-charge of ICE in Raleigh, said of the scam artists. "Every day, every hour, they're operating phones, cellphones, the Internet – just blasting away at phones – and if it takes them 10,000 calls to get one person to send them $200,000, that's what their job is."

Since the inception of Project JOLT, investigations have resulted in 149 arrests, 10 indictments and six convictions, as well as the seizure of more than $1.2 million in assets and the repatriation of more than $251,000, authorities said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Mar 12, 2013

    The scammed lady is the most generous lady I know. She is sooo far from greedy as some people have suggested.

    Really? Its the greedy people that goes for these "scams." For the elderly, family should be watchful in all that they do. Family should be in charge once they do foolish things like this.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Mar 12, 2013

    She is lucky to have gotten anything back. May she and others learn from this.

  • bigmelons2004 Mar 12, 2013

    If a deal sounds to good to be true, think about it first, because it usually is.

  • borninraleigh73 Mar 12, 2013

    The scammed lady is the most generous lady I know. She is sooo far from greedy as some people have suggested. She trusts everyone. no matter what. I've known her 30+ years. Yes, she is getting what was recovered back. No. not what she lost. Yes, now her family is helping keep an eye out. She's over 90 and can still beat me in scrabble. She simply fell for it and they stole her identity. I would love to meet the scammers face to face.

  • sunshine1040 Mar 12, 2013

    Why did the family get the money returned and not the woman that was defrauded? Or was the family members not paying attention until they realized she had spent the money they thought was coming to them

  • Grand Union Mar 12, 2013

    How can one seize over a million dollars in assets and only be able to return $251,000. I smell lawyer fees."

    where do you read that the rest will not be returned in due course......assets would need to be sold and its possible that some cannot pending appeals.

  • kevinpgoddard Mar 11, 2013

    "Greed? That's what Obama said he was going to stop...right? Oh well, another promise broken. And who would have ever "thunk" a politician could change human emotions."

    I love how a story about a woman being robbed of money via scam can be blamed on Obama...was he making the phone calls from Jamaica? You ran out of toilet paper and toothpaste and have to run to the store. Guess that was the governments fault too, right?

  • jaw8823 Mar 11, 2013

    I received a call Saturday from Jamaica telling me I'm a winner of the Publishers Clearing House. He gave me a number to contact his supervisor. Reluctantly I called the number provided and Peter Myers answered and said I have a Mercedes and $250,000. They informed that the car was in Jacksonville NC and would be delivered to be before night. I was asked to verify my address; I in turn ask them to verify my address since they had my information. Then he ask me to hold while he take a call. I knew then it was sham. At that point I hung up

  • claudnc Mar 11, 2013

    How in the world are you blaming this on Obama... Bwahahahaha.

  • sillymee Mar 11, 2013

    How can one seize over a million dollars in assets and only be able to return $251,000. I smell lawyer fees.