HIALEH (CBS4) – A Hialeah women has been charged with preying on the elderly, allegedly ripping off at least half a dozen people by claiming to have life saving drugs for them that turned out to be very expensive vitamins.
Elvine Lamas, 38, has yet to reach middle age, but Hialeah police said she chose the elderly as her victims in a scheme they claim she has been running for the past year.
Luz Celeste is one of six victims who have identified Lamas.
Speaking only Spanish Celeste said, “I got some analysis done. They came back with leukemia.”
Celeste said she got so nervous she was prepared to do anything.
“I was going to travel and that’s why I had the money on me,” said Celeste.
Celeste said she gave Lamas $300 in cash because Lamas said she was calling from her doctor’s office and that she needed to take the medicine right away.
Police said Lamas may have scammed as many as 40 victims by telling them she was employee of their doctor’s office, and claim they needed some life-saving medicine.
To make sure they got it, she allegedly told the person that someone from the pharmacy was on the way to their home with the delivery.
They were told to have cash ready, as the delivery person would not accept any other form of payment.
Police said it was Lamas who appeared at their door almost immediately, with a bottle of pills, and demanded hundreds of dollars in cash for the ‘medicine.’
After she left with the cash, the victims found the pills were simply vitamins and didn’t come from their doctor. She also learned that she did not have leukemia.
Six victims identified Lamas as the person who delivered the pills and departed with their money, but police believe there may be more victims.
Investigators said there are at least 40 complaints about similar crimes in Hialeah in the past year, and they are asking anyone victimized who recognizes Lamas to contact Hialeah Police.
Lamas was charged with Grand Theft and Exploitation of Elderly Persons.
Anyone with information can contact Hialeah Police at 305-687-2525