Grand Island woman connected to international scam network
Scammed older men out of thousands of dollars
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A Grand Island woman is facing two felony charges after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly victims as part of a larger network of scammers with ties to Ghana.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office arrested Constance Reimers, 65, on Wednesday based on an investigation that was initiated by investigators from the FBI Elder Justice Task Force from San Diego County, California.
Reimers is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft by deception more than $5,000 and one count of theft by deception more than $5,000.
According to the arrest affidavit, Reimers is part of an international network that has scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims including a California man and three men from Nebraska.
In November 2020, a California man created a dating profile on the platform Zoosk. Shortly after creating the profile, he received a message from Reimers. The two started to speak and it quickly turned romantic.
The affidavit says after the relationship turned romantic, Reimers started to ask the victim to send her money for various reasons, from paying rent to helping with a financial burden caused by COVID-19 and helping pay forty years of storage fee’s so that she could inherit a gold fortune that she was entitled to.
The victim jumped at the chance to help her, sending money via numerous mediums including Zelle, CashApp and cashier’s checks, totaling $17,806. He also sent her Apple products including a new phone and adding her to his phone plan. The court document goes on to say that as soon as she received the phone, she removed it from his plan and changed the number.
She also instructed the victim to send numerous large sum cashier’s checks to an individual in North Carolina, which he did sending $474,123.
The victim started to believe he was being scammed, but still held out hope that Reimers was legitimately in love with him, according to the affidavit.
He then used a Been Verified account to look up people named Constance Reimers and the phone numbers associated with it.
It was then that he started calling the numbers. He spoke with Reimers who said her real name was Gretchen.
He ended up getting in contact with Reimer’s daughter, who told him that Reimers was the victim of a scam for over four years and refuses to call the police.
After the California man spoke with Reimer’s daughter, she blocked him from chatting on all platforms. Then in March 2021, she unblocked and started speaking to him again. The affidavit reveals that she admitted that everything was a scam and admitted to receiving money from the victim aside from the money she gave to scammers.
She told the California man that she sent money to people in Ghana, to the man in North Carolina, a man in Lincoln and a lady in Florida.
The victim was able to create a ruse and eventually get $30,000 back.
The victim kept in contact with Reimer’s daughter throughout March 2021, where she told him she was directed to send money through MoneyGram to several people to the tune of $42,500. She added that the scammers had developed a friendship, even sending her family numerous gifts, including laptops.
This case was brought before the San Diego Elder Justice Task Force with assistance from the FBI and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
They completed over 50 search warrants for email, phone and bank account records associated with Reimer’s and the man from North Carolina. The search warrant came back revealing communications with another California victim, who was scammed out of nearly $13,000 and three individuals from Nebraska with more than $175,000 taken from them.
The affidavit states that Reimers and the North Carolina man were “part of a network of scammers associated with Nana Yaw Awuah Marfo.” Marfo was the subject of a multi-million dollar money laundering and fraud FBI investigation.
Reimers appeared in Hall County Court for her initial hearing, where a bond was set at $50,000. She has since bonded out and is due back in court on Dec. 13.
At this time, no charges have been filed against Reimer’s daughter or the man from North Carolina in Nebraska or in federal court.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office believes this case has crossed into other surrounding communities in Nebraska and across state lines. While some victims have been identified as a part of this investigation, they suspect that more financial victims exist. The sheriff’s office hopes that this arrest will empower victims of elder financial exploitation to come forward.
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