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Local Lady Busts Scammers

An Amarillo woman puts a stop to some national scammers.
6 people are behind bars for allegedly scamming elderly people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We have an exclusive interview with the woman who beat the scammers at their own game from thousands of miles away.

She says she wasn't nervous, or even scared.

She was just mad.

However, you'll see in the story she has asked that her face or name not be shown.

"I picked up the phone and there was this crying voice on the other end saying grandma!  Granmda!  This is Michael. Grandma! Grandma!  I said Michael what's the matter.  Grandma, I did not do it."
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On January 29th, 2017 a concerned grandmother got a phone call from a man claiming to be her grandson.

He said he was in jail in Hereford for his involvement in a car crash, and drugs were involved

The supposed grandson told her he needed $7,500 or he would have to go to prison.

But grandma knew, his story didn't quite add up.

"Grandma, don't call mom. She'll be worried.  Well at that point I knew, that was it, because his mother is passed away."

She says she then decided to play along, trying to put a stop to it.

She tells the man she'll go to the bank and get the money.

He told her where to mail the cash and to not tell anyone for 48 hours or he'd be sent to prison.

She tells us she needed to come up with a way for it to look like their was more than 7 grand in cash inside of the envelope.

"Luckily I had Paula Dean magazines, so my daughter in law started cutting out, I guess you call them paper dolls, money about this wide."

The man and another man immitating an officer demanded the money be sent to an address in Ontario, California, because that's where the bondsman was.

She says they told her it needed to be sent to the west coast because that's where the case was being investigated.

"I said just give michael my love and my car and tell him the money is on the way to get it out, and he was sitting on the couch, my grandson."

Amarillo Police got in touch with law enforcement in Ontario, and it wasn't long before six people were in custody.

At 91 years old, the grandmother says she never thought something like this would happen to her.

But she does have advice to help others not be victims of future scams.

"Really listen closely and pay attention to what they're saying. Especially to elderly people, please I beg them to be very cautious as to who they're talking to and who they're sending money too," she says.

Police discovered other scam victims in Texas and Nebraska.

One elderly woman sent a number of packages totallying more than $200,000.

Unfortunately, police say only a small amount of the money was returned to her.

All suspects are booked into a southern California jail for various charges including grand theft, identity theft, theft from an elder, and elder abuse and conspiracy.

The woman we spoke to will be heading out to the west coast to testify.

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