A 74-year-old woman was scammed out of $60,000 and left ‘homeless’.
Linda Bemis was contacted by a Facebook user named Mr Bravo who told her he was an alleged military serviceman.
Bemis told Local 10 it was like when she was growing up and they used to have ‘pen pals‘.
She says: “Everybody was always who they said they were. The guy had a really nice smile.”
Over the course of their online communications, Mr Bravo came up with various reasons why he needed money – such as telling Bemis he needed $50,000 to get his luggage through customs.
Bemis even sold ‘her share in her home’ to raise funds for the Facebook user and additionally sold her car to raise an added $10,000.
Sadly for Bemis, Mr Bravo turned out to not be a military serviceman stuck in Afghanistan, but a woman named Lisa Miller.
Miller’s arrest warrant states: “Bravo kept telling her that he was stuck in Afghanistan…he needed $50,000 to get his luggage trunk through Customs. The victim was convinced by Bravo to sell her share in her home to raise $50,000.”
A total of $60,000 is reported as having sent from Bemis to Miller, according to bank records.
“It left me homeless,” Bemis said.
Investigators also discovered the internet protocol address for the Mr Bravo Facebook account had been rerouted to say the user was located in Nigeria.
Miller was arrested on charges of organised fraud and theft from the elderly.
According to the Law Offices of Roger P Foley’s page on ‘Organised Fraud’: “If the value is $20,000 and above but below $50,000, it is a second-degree felony punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“If the value is $50,000 or above, it is a first-degree felony punishable up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.”
Miller branded the accusations against her ‘crazy,’ and told 10 Local: “I’m innocent because I’m innocent.”
However, Miller has since been found guilty as per an update by Local 10 on 10 November, and is awaiting sentencing.
Sergeant Brian Schnell from Sunny Isles Beach Police Department has warned others: “Be careful … Before you know it, you can become a victim just like that in this case.”