Police: Mystery woman targets wealthy men

May 18, 2010 5:43:26 PM PDT
A woman is accused of targeting wealthy, older men and trying to clean out their bank accounts. She stole thousands from at least one man and there may be other victims out there. The son of one of the victims says his father's mistake should be a warning to other families to protect their identities.

The victim's son says the incident has wreaked havoc on his family. Life for his elderly father hasn't been the same since. All they want now is justice.

Her identity is a mystery, but investigators want viewers to take a good look. Investigators say she's a con artist who targets rich, elderly men. Robert, who wants to only use his first name, says she tried to clean out his 88-year-old father's retirement account.

He said, "I think there's a special place in hell for people who take money from old people, or abuse old people or clean them out of all their money."

A surveillance camera captured the woman -- who uses several different aliases -- at a local drug store where investigators say she used Robert's father's credit card to buy $1,000 in gift cards. Robert says the woman first befriended his 88-year-old father, who suffers from short term memory loss, at a neighborhood grocery store back in March. Two days later, his dad had already given her $6,000.

"It seemed like it was a con game to me," Robert said. "My advice to him was steer clear of this. This doesn't sound right."

Unbeknownst to Robert, it was just the beginning.

He said, "Oh, $200,000 later I'm completely floored so up go the alarms, call in the police, call in everybody you can."

Robert says it was his father's money managers who sounded the alarm after they noticed some discrepancies on his investment portfolio. Investigators say the woman didn't act alone. She had help in getting the checks cashed.

Sgt. J.R. McClure with the Harris County Sheriff's Office explained, "We believe that another male recruited this other elderly gentleman and actually received the cash, then they distributed it amongst each other."

In addition to her thousand dollar shopping spree at a drug store, authorities say the woman also used the elderly man's credit card to buy more than $5,000 worth of merchandise at a local department store. How she was able to target Robert's father is unclear, but investigators are certain he wasn't the first, and unless she's caught, his son fears he won't be the last.

"They seem to have no conscience," Robert said. "They'll do whatever they can do to get the money and they don't care what happens to the old person."

The woman in that surveillance video goes by many different names including Jan, Gina, Jaette Ellis and Tracy Gallow. Investigators believe she may have been living at a rented apartment on Butte Creek and FM 1960.


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