Local News

Durham woman admits running $1.7M fake heiress scheme

Posted December 8, 2010 8:16 a.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2010 12:25 p.m. EST

— A Durham woman admits she posed as an heiress to swindle approximately 140 people out of $1.7 million.

Bari Lynn Berger, 67, admitted in Philadelphia federal court Tuesday that she posed as the illegitimate daughter of a billionaire who died several years earlier.

Authorities said that Berger told victims that her father's will required her to become financially stable and receive treatment for cancer to receive a payout. Investigators say Berger promised amounts ranging from $100 to $1,000 for every dollar her victims contributed.

Court documents state that Berger used the money to buy items including jewelry, an RV and motorcycles.

Berger pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. Sentencing for Berger and her co-defendant Gerald W. Radomski is scheduled for April.