65-year-old Dorothy Edge, of Brooklyn kept her life savings of $28,000 stashed in a sock. Unfortunately, a pair of scammers — one dressed as a pastor (pictured above) — managed to finesse Dorothy out of her coins
“I blame myself because I’m stupid, I’m downright stupid,” Edge told the Daily News Saturday. “It was a pastor and that was the reason I didn’t suspect him.”
Edge was returning to her East Flatbush home around noon on May 11 after running some errands when a woman in her 50s approached her and struck up a conversation.
The stranger claimed she was from South Africa and in the U.S. because her uncle had died. She said he left her $200,000 and she wanted to make a charitable donation — but had been unable do it herself because she had to leave the country.
That’s when the woman’s partner — a man in his 50s pretending to be a preacher, with a Bible stuck in his pocket — walked up to them. He promised to help the pair.
“If he had come up without the Bible and everything, I would have walked away,” said Edge, who is originally from Jamaica.
The woman showed Edge documents that appeared legit, she said.
She presented two letters, one from a law firm called Cohen, Cohen, Cohen and Bernstein, and a second letter from her high priest back in South Africa.
The letter from the priest explained to the lawyers that the money can’t be taken back to South Africa because it would be highly suspicious to authorities.
The woman told Edge and the man posing as the pastor that “God sent me to meet you” — adding that she noticed Edge because she looked honest.
Appearing convinced, the “pastor” took the pair to his car and showed them his own money — claiming it totaled $40,000 — to prove he was trustworthy.
The pair asked Edge to prove the same.
She took them to her apartment, where she removed $28,000 in cash from a cream-colored, striped sock. She kept the cash at home, a habit she acquired before she received her green card, when she was unable open a bank account, she said.
The crooks put her money in a black bag with their own funds, covered it with a handkerchief and blessed it. Then, they pulled a switcheroo. They handed a bag to Edge, telling her to take back her own money, and she would be in charge of donating the rest.
Edge suggested some charities she has given to in the past, including St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, assuring the woman, “I’m not a thief, I’m an honest person.”
The pair of thieves took off — leaving Edge struggling to open the locked bag.
When she finally used a keychain to cut open the pouch, there was nothing but ripped up newspapers inside.
“I can’t tell you what I think,” she said of the discovery. “My feet become very numb.”
Edge, who earned her money babysitting, said she has a little cash left in a checking account, but it’s not enough to sustain her and her homebound husband who suffers from dementia.
“I can’t see myself in the mirror. I’m not me. I don’t know the person in the mirror,” she said.
While Edge was at the 67th Precinct station house giving a report, another woman about her age recounted a similar tale.
“I hope they catch them, I hope this doesn’t happen to nobody else,” Edge said.
“It’s not fair.”
Cops recovered surveillance video showing the female suspect striking up conversations with several people on Church Ave.
Police have released photos of the suspects and are asking for the public’s help identifying them.
If we’re being honest, there are pastors scamming on people’s life-savings every Sunday — from the pulpit!