Three women are accused of swindling more than $10,000 from an 88-year-old woman in Queens.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the woman had fallen victim to a “found money” scam.
Juanita Lamb, of Engelwood, New Jersey, Deanna Rhett, of Manhattan, and Donna Saunders, of the Bronx, are charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
On Aug. 1, 2015, it’s alleged that the victim was approached by Saunders on the corner of 77th Street and 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights.
As the two women engaged in conversation, Rhett allegedly showed the women a purse filled with what appeared to be $100,000 that she claimed to have found on the ground. Rhett allegedly offered to share the money with the women if they agreed to pay the taxes on it.
Then, Lamb allegedly approached the group in a vehicle and offered to give the victim a ride home. It was decided then that the women would meet back up two days later to pay the taxes and share the money, the district attorney's office said.
On Aug. 3, the district attorney’s office said the suspects picked the victim up at her Queens home and drove to Queens County Savings Bank, where she withdrew $10,300 for taxes on the money. But once the victim was taken back to her home, the three suspects disappeared, the district attorney’s office said.
After the victim alerted police, the suspects were stopped by officers with the Organized Theft Squad, who found $3,100 from the floor of the driver’s seat, $4,100 from the floor of the front passenger seat and $3,100 from Saunders’ waistband, according to the district attorney’s office. An assortment of fake money and wigs was also found in the car.
Lamb, Rhett, and Saunders are due back in court on June 6. If convicted, they each could face up to 7 years in prison.