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Elburn woman scammed into money laundering scheme

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:37 p.m. CDT

ELBURN – An Elburn woman apparently was scammed into a money laundering scheme after she developed a relationship with someone she connected with on an online dating site, according to a Kane County Sheriff's report.

The man reportedly told her he was going to West Africa to work on an oil rig. After he arrived there, he asked her for money to get his equipment out of customs, and she told him she didn't have any money to send, the woman told police Monday.

He reportedly contacted her again, explaining someone else could help him but would need to deposit money in her account, and she would have to forward him the funds.

The woman gave him her account information, and she received a $10,000 deposit a few days later, police reported.

Per the man's request, police reported, the woman sent the money to the Republic of Benin in West Africa in the form of three cashiers checks. Her bank later contacted her, saying she was involved in money laundering, and it was closing her account, police reported.

Lt. Pat Gengler wrote in an email the woman was not charged with anything.

"These scams are pretty common, and people who fall prey to them are usually never charged with anything," he wrote.

At the time of the report, the woman hadn't suffered any financial loss, police said. Police also reported the bank had issued her a check for $2,500 but withheld $1,500 for outstanding charges.

While anyone can become a victim, Gengler said, these scams usually prey on the elderly. Those who care for elderly family members should pay attention to the scams and make sure their relatives know the dangers of sharing personal financial or identification information, he said.

"The people who commit these things have nothing better to do than try to pull these scams off," Gengler wrote. "They are pretty good at covering their tracks and making sure it is hard to catch them."

Visit www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud for information about common fraud schemes and www.kanecountytriad.com for information about programs Kane County TRIAD offers for seniors.

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