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65-year-old Jamaican scammed of life savings in US

Published:Sunday | May 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

A 65-year-old Jamaican woman residing in the United States (US) who was getting ready to return to her homeland with her sick husband has lost her entire life savings of US$28,000, or approximately J$3.6 million, to a pair of con artists, the New York Daily News has reported.

Dorothy Edge said she earned the money from baby-sittings jobs and kept it in a striped sock inside her Brooklyn, New York home, something she started doing before she obtained her green card and could not open a bank account.

Edge, whose husband, it is believed, suffers from dementia, told the newspaper she felt angry and ashamed that she allowed herself to be "suckered" by the two con artists, one of whom posed as a member of the clergy.

"I blame myself because I'm stupid, I'm downright stupid," Edge told the Daily News on Saturday, more than two weeks after the May 11 incident. "It was a pastor, and that was the reason I didn't suspect him," she added.

The 65-year-old, in recounting her ordeal, revealed that she was returning to her home in East Flatbush when a woman, who appeared to be in her 50s, approached her and struck up a conversation.

According to Edge, the woman claimed she was from South Africa and was in the US because her uncle had died. She said the woman claimed that her uncle left her $200,000 and she wanted to make a charitable donation, but was unable do it because she had to leave the country shortly.

Edge told the newspaper that was when the woman's partner - a man who also appeared to be in his 50s, with a Bible in his pocket and pretending to be a preacher - joined the conversation and promised to assist.

"If he had come up without the Bible and everything, I would have walked away," she said.

'God sent me to meet you'

Dorothy Edge said that the woman who conned her out of her money showed her documents that appeared legitimate and claimed that 'God sent me to meet you'. She said the woman also told her that she approached her because she looked honest.

Edge said she and the woman then accompanied the 'pastor' to his car where he showed them cash he claimed totalled $40,000 to prove he could be trusted.

The two con artists then asked the Jamaican immigrant to prove the same, the NY Daily News reported, and that's when she took them to her apartment and handed over the $28,000 she had saved up to return to her homeland.

Edge reported that the two con artists wrapped her money in a handkerchief, blessed it and placed it in the same bag they claimed to have put their money. The newspaper reported that the two then switched the bags before handing one of them to Edge, with instructions to take back her $28,000 and take responsibility for donating the remainder.

The elderly woman said she struggled to open the bag, but when she finally did there was nothing but ripped-up newspapers inside.

"I can't tell you what I think, my feet became very numb. I can't see myself in the mirror," Edge said after her discovery.