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Elderly Scam Victim Helps Police Nab Alleged Crooks

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maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Miami Beach police have arrested four suspects accused of scamming an elderly man out of $12,000. Police say there are likely more victims.

According to police, the victim helped them arrest Ashley Shelnutt, Charles Merritt, Kenneth Fails and William Donnely Fenner.

Thursday afternoon police say Shelnutt pretended to find a wallet full of cash in a grocery store parking lot. She allegedly approached a man in his 80s and asked him to help her find the owner.

When they couldn’t find the owner, police say another suspect, Charles Merritt, came to talk to the victim and suggested they keep the money, invest it and add in some of their own.

“They told him you look like a smart person maybe we could all make some money out of this. They told this man if you give them $20,000 they will triple their money,” Deborah Doherty of the Miami Beach Police Department explained.

What police say the victim didn’t realize was the money found in that stack wasn’t real. Some wasn’t even fake money, it was just white paper. But police say it was enough to convince the man to give the suspects $12,000.

The next day the victim went to authorities.

“While he is here these people are calling him for more money the 12,000 wasn’t enough for them. They wanted more of his money, so he got more phone calls and that is why we were able to conduct a sting,” Doty explained.

Police say the victim agreed to get the suspects more money, but police showed up too and arrested the suspects.

Police say this victim got most of his money back but they think there are more victims.

They want any potential victims to call Miami Beach Police.

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