Woman, 87, gets money back from scam

Story on News4Jax helps friends recover money for her

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An elderly scam victim got thousands of dollars back that she had lost because of a story on News4Jax.

It involved a settlement with the MoneyGram corporation and a multimillion dollar federal crackdown.

The settlement was for anyone who had been scammed using something consumers can get a lot of places called MoneyGram. MoneyGram can be used to wire money to anyone. But the MoneyGram corporation was found guilty of knowingly sending money to known scammers.

One family who helps out an 87-year-old Clay County woman with dementia happened to be watching a News4Jax report on the scam.

Dan Gensch said he was stunned a few years back when he found out how much money the woman had been scammed out of over the years.

"She got scammed out of about $60,000 from people in Canada and Costa Rica," Gensch said. "All the money went through Western Union and MoneyGram."

Gensch started going through receipts she kept and noticed thousands and thousands of dollars on them. He knew she had been scammed and frankly thought the money was lost until the News4Jax story aired.

"We're watching the news one night back in February or March, I don't remember when it was, and it said something about a MoneyGram scandal and that there was a settlement," Gensch said. "I said, 'Boy, let me go check that.'"

The story showed that other scam victims had been able to get some or all of their money back, but the only problem was the deadline had already passed. But Gensch decided to try anyway.

"(I) took a shot and called the attorney who ran the settlement, and she said, 'Yeah, you're past the deadline, but send it in, and we'll consider it a late submission."

Gensch was shocked when his friend received a check for almost $15,000 in the mail, which was just enough. The woman was so low on funds, she was about to lose her place to live.

"Now she's going to be able to stay right where she's at, not going to have to worry about her rent going up or anything like that," Gensch said. "She's in a memory care unit and is suffering from lymphoma, so this is really gonna' help a lot."

Gensch said because his friend has dementia she doesn't totally understand the check, but he said whether she understands it or not, she needed the money. Sadly, she is only getting about a quarter of her money back. The other $45,000 was sent through Western Union and that company was not part of the settlement.

For more information on the settlement or how to file a petition to join it, go to www.justice.gov/criminal/vns/caseup/moneygram.html.

Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.