Police seek suspect in multiple ‘diamond’ scams

Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-03 00:02:59-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A West Valley City woman was scammed out of thousands of dollars, and police believe the suspect may be the same woman who pulled a similar trick in Orem.

In both cases the suspect is a Latina woman who approached another Latina woman and told them a tragic story and pleaded for help. The suspect offered both victims a diamond as collateral for the loan, but the diamond turned out to be a fake in both cases.

In the Orem case victim Maria Hernandez was scammed out of $8,000. The victim in the West Valley City incident, which police said occurred around the same time as the other scam, was taken for $5,000.

Sgt. Jason Hauer, West Valley City Police Department, said the victim in West Valley City was approached while at a shopping center near 5600 West and 3100 South, and that the suspect’s story was convincing.

“The story that was given to her was elaborate enough and detailed enough that she felt that she was really helping these people out,” he said.

The two cases resemble each other.  In both cases a Latina woman approached another Latina with a sob-story about a family emergency, and in both cases the ruse was successful.

Police said the suspect appears to be targeting Latinas from Mexico to play on their shared experiences as immigrants.