On Monday, a man approached an elderly man in a parking lot at 175th Street SW and Highway 99, saying he was carrying a lot of cash and was preparing to return to Africa. He said he was going to receive more money from an airline disaster in which his brother died.
The scammer then tried gain the trust of the victim by showing him what looked like wads of real money, but was actually phony foreign money wrapped in $100 bills. He asked the elderly victim for a ride to a nearby drugstore, where they “happened” to run into the suspect’s female counterpart. That’s when the suspects were arrested by Lynnwood officers.
The scam was thwarted because witnesses saw the men having an animated argument in the parking lot and called police.
Here’s how the scam usually plays out. The thieves explain they can’t take the cash back to their home country and need the victim to take all the money and give it to charity. Usually the victim agrees, but to prove he is trustworthy the suspects have him go to his own bank to withdraw money.
The victim goes to the bank while the suspects wait, and he brings them the money. The suspects either switch the real money for the fake money, or simply take the cash from the victim.
The two suspects, a 58-year-old man from California and a 53-year-old woman from Seattle, were arrested and booked in Snohomish County Jail for providing false or misleading information. Both of them have an extensive criminal background in California.
Lynnwood Police are working with other agencies to see if there are any other recent, similar cases. Anyone with information specifically on this case should call Lynnwood Police Detective Sean Gillebo at 425-670-5622.