Feds: Church lady conned man out of $231K

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit – A 15-time felon swindled $231,000 from an 88-year-old man she met through a lonely hearts club and blew the cash at Detroit casinos, according to federal prosecutors.

Federal court records describe an unusual swindle involving a church lady, a long con and a lonely man looking for love.

“The facts of the case are extraordinarily disturbing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Barrington Wilkins said.

The case against Detroit resident Carrie McCoy, 66, dates to November 2007. That’s when she met a man from Green Bay, Wis., through a lonely hearts club, according to prosecutors.

The man is a lifelong bachelor. A factory worker. No family. No kids.

They started out as pen pals.

McCoy lied from the start, authorities allege. She claimed she was a white woman and much younger, according to the government.

At some point, McCoy falsely accused the man of unspecified inappropriate behavior, Wilkins said. McCoy threatened to sue the man if he didn’t give her money and also threatened to travel to Green Bay and take the cash.

The man agreed and started sending money during the next nine years even though he’d never met McCoy in person.

“This is not a one-and-done,” Wilkins said.

The man gave her money more than 200 times. Sometimes he would send $275, sometimes $600 and sometimes $1,000.

McCoy also enlisted other people to pose as a lawyer and a judge, telling the man he needed to send money, according to court records.

Low on cash, the man sought bank loans and asked friends for money.

“Over the course of explaining why he needed the money, it became clear what was going on,” Wilkins said.

Investigators looked at the man’s phone records.

Though he never called McCoy, she called the man 10,800 times during a four-year period.

“That’s an average of about seven calls a day,” the prosecutor said.

McCoy spent the money playing slot machines at Detroit casinos, according to the government.

“In essence, she lost all this money,” Wilkins said.

Investigators looked at McCoy’s background and noticed a lot of numbers.

She has 15 aliases, six birthdays, seven Social Security numbers and a rap sheet spanning 40 years. McCoy has at least 15 convictions for grand larceny, fraudulent use of credit cards, petty theft and other crimes.

And one job: McCoy works at a Baptist church in Detroit, the prosecutor said.

McCoy was indicted on a 20-year fraud charge last month and held without bond Thursday in federal court in Detroit. She will be transferred to Wisconsin soon.

“It does sound awful and a lot of those things will be litigated in Wisconsin,” her court-appointed attorney Rhonda Brazille said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand refused to release McCoy on bond after determining she was a danger to the community and a flight risk.

After hearing about McCoy’s rap sheet and alleged crimes, the prosecutor was prepared to keep arguing Thursday to keep her behind bars.

“You don’t need to add anything,” Grand said, cutting off the prosecutor. “She’s been a continuing threat to the community from 40 years ago. I have no reason to think that wouldn’t continue.”


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