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Things you thought you could count on in this world: the Easter Bunny, flowers in springtime, Grandma. Sad to say you should cross one item off the list, and it isn't the mythological rabbit. Last week, a Florida granny was arrested and charged with the grandmother of all schemes: bilking more than $1 million from friends and her church pastor.
According to a report by ABC News, Doris Siegel, now aka the "granny scammer" was arrested by police in Florida last Wednesday, March 24. The 78 year-old remains in jail as she cannot meet the $50,000 bond.
This is a sorry case of victim on victim crime. Grandma Siegel was herself reportedly defrauded by one of the fine imported Nigerian lottery scams to which she lost more than $10,000. Police are speculating on whether or not her turn at allegedly running a scam was an attempt to raise the money that would allow her to access her "lottery winnings." ABC reports the silver tongued old gal allegedly talked victims out of amounts ranging from $300 to $330,000. One couple gave Siegel $78,000, which represented their life savings. According to Brooksville Police Chief George Turner, the couple is now in danger of losing their trailer in foreclosure proceedings.
Another of the evil granny's victims told ABC News that Siegel allegedly talked him in to giving her $22,000 and that he pawned family jewelry to raise the money. James Ford said Siegel supposedly needed the money to pay taxes on her lottery winnings and when she got the money, she would pay him back. "She seemed like the most sincere, sweetest woman you'd ever want to meet in your life. She knows exactly what she was doing," Ford said.
Just to really ensure that her afterlife will be, shall we say, warm, Siegel also allegedly conned funds out of her own pastor by claiming to help orphans in Guatemala. "She said she had a mission in Guatemala somewhere and she was supporting it and some of our church members gave money for it," Pastor John Sabo of the Brooksville Seventh-Day Adventist Church told ABC's affiliate WTFS.
Brooksville, Fl. police are still trying to recover as much money for the alleged victims as possible. They fear if Siegel shipped it to the Nigerian "lotto authority" in Holland (of all places), they will never see it again; but they are still looking. "We didn't find a mattress full of money, but we haven't gotten all her bank records yet," the chief said.