Wilson Smith met a nice woman in Las Vegas. They spent two days together, it seems, before Smith, in town for only a short visit, headed to a high school reunion and then back home to California — and his new friend started calling.
Smith was 78 and in the early stages of dementia. She was 20-something and persistent. In three years she gutted Smith’s bank accounts, used his financial information to obtain at least 28 credit cards and spent $750,000.
When the fraud was finally exposed, so was the depth of Smith’s Alzheimer’s. He wired her money until there was none, bought her a car, gave her his bank information and let trash bags full of unopened bills pile up in his basement. And yet, when accountants walked Smith through the financial wreckage, the former banker was as shocked as anybody by his unwitting hand in the nightmare.
The woman remains wanted by police. Smith is now in an assisted-living facility. His story, meanwhile, was shown on Capitol Hill in October, part of a short documentary created by advocacy groups seeking passage of the Elder Justice Act. Though 150 short videos were made in this effort, it was Smith’s case — one of the worst horror stories — that was selected to be shown during the Washington briefing.
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Elderly, a Bit Senile, Visiting Vegas - Man was Perfect Fraud Victim