A 61-year-old St. Paul man who police dubbed the "sweetheart swindler" is accused of conning a 66-year-old woman out of her late husband's life insurance benefits, the Pioneer Press reported.
The woman met Kent Norman Meyer online, the newspaper reports. She later discovered he was not investing the $200,000 as he had promised her – he was just dumping the money into the account of another "significant other," prosecutors say. The pair used the cash to pay off credit card bills and on new goods from Macy's, Home Depot and Sears, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say the man convinced the woman to write him a cashier's check for $70,000 for a Lexus, the Pioneer Press reported.
Meyer has a record of other swindles dating to 1997. He was sentenced to about five years in prison in 2005 on two counts of theft by swindle, the Pioneer Press reports.
Investment schemes are among the top 10 most common scams targeting seniors, the National Council on Aging reported.
Law enforcement officials urge families to protect older loved ones from con artists who prey on seniors. The FBI notes that senior citizens are attractive targets because they are more likely to have retirement money, own their home and have good credit.
Met Life recently did a study on protecting seniors from financial abuse, perhaps the first large-scale analysis of the issue.