Los Angeles News

Scammers rob Glendale woman of life savings

Monday, October 01, 2012

Antonia Becerra, 81, doesn't answer her phone anymore. Her dreams of retiring and traveling have been dashed, too.

All of it started with the ring of her phone. It was a scammer on the other line waiting to rob her of her life savings.

"I got a phone call and this person told me, 'Antonia, you won $2 million and a brand new Mercedes,'" said Becerra, a Glendale resident. "I said, wow, that's great."

To close the deal, she said they told her she needed to transfer funds. Then they demanded more and more.

She sent them her savings, her work wages and borrowed money from friends. She even sold her car to send them money.

"I've been saving for years," Becerra said. "It wasn't much money because working and paying the rent and things like that, it's not easy, but I think I'll estimate that I sent them about $60,000-$65,000."

The demands got more and more aggressive until she turned to the police.

"It's heart wrenching," said Det. Jason Ross, who also serves as the president of the Glendale Police Officers' Association. "We see victims all the time, and to see a woman who has worked her whole life to amass this life savings, and for her to hand it over to somebody overseas who has no remorse for where it's going to leave her in life fearing eviction, not having a ride to get to work."

Becerra has worked at Taix French Restaurant in Echo Park since the 1960s.

Now, instead of planning her retirement, she thinks about how to pay her pile of bills and whether she can find an apartment close to work so she can walk.

Police have traced the scam to Jamaica, but other than that they have no leads. The Glendale Police Officers' Association is helping to raise money to pay for Becerra's bills.

Information on the effort to help Becerra can be found the Glendale Police Officers' Association website.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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fraud, scams, los angeles news, rudabeh shahbazi
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