October 26, 2020

NY court indicts Barbadian-born woman in “Affinity Scam”

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Decorative Scales Of Justice In The CourtroomFrom CARIBBEAN360

NEW YORK, United States, April 15, 2015, CMC – A Barbadian-born woman has been indicted for stealing about US$300,000 from friends and acquaintances after telling them she inherited a multi-million dollar estate but needed money to clear encumbrances.

In what has been described as an “Affinity Scam,” the defendant allegedly promised the victims a large return in exchange for the loans, New York District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said.

“This defendant allegedly ripped off people who trusted her because they all shared a Caribbean heritage. I would strongly urge anyone who is offered a lot of money for an alleged short-term loan to be very wary, as it is often a scam and a sure way to lose your hard-earned savings,” he said.

Thompson identified the defendant as Lurene Elias, also known as Helen Lurene Elias, 48, who lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Elias was arraigned on Monday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud, three counts of second-degree grand larceny, five counts of third-degree grand larceny and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

The defendant was ordered held on bail of US$150,000 bond or US$75,000 cash and to return to court on June 24, 2015.

According to the indictment, from December 28, 2010 to May 15, 2013, Elias stole money from at least 10 people, convincing them to give her money by saying that she had inherited a multi-million dollar estate but needed money to clear various “encumbrances,” such as liens and taxes.

She allegedly promised to return the borrowed money with substantial interest in a short time period, sometimes promising to double their money.

The victims allegedly gave the defendant varying amounts of cash ranging from US$3,000 to US$105,000, Thompson said.

When the victims asked for repayment, the defendant stalled and claimed that she needed more money to clear additional encumbrances and pay various fees and expenses, the District Attorney said.

“If they did not have more money, she urged them to reach out to family and friends for financial assistance so the encumbrances could be lifted and everyone could be paid,” said Thompson in the indictment.

To lend credibility to her story, according to the indictment, the defendant provided fraudulent documents to her victims, including an altered bank account statement reflecting a balance in excess of US$13 million.

Additionally, she signed and gave promissory notes to the victims, the indictment alleges.

IMAGE: Decorative Scales Of Justice In The Courtroom

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/ny-court-indicts-barbadian-born-woman-in-affinity-scam#ixzz3XTtiXdTb

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