General Crime

Young Woman Scams Love Struck Elderly Man Out of $200,000

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An Elk Grove woman allegedly scammed a Campbell man out of a Lexus and $200,000, Santa Clara County prosecutors said Friday. Samantha Pham, 30, met her alleged victim, an elderly man, in April of 2009 when she cold-called him, Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said. Bourland said Pham visited the victim and flirted with him to the extent that he gave her his ex-wife’s diamond ring.

She then persuaded him to refinance his home and pull out money to invest in a company, had him sign the lease on an office space, max out his credit hard to buy her office furniture and buy her a $73,000 Lexus. The company belonged to Pham’s boyfriend, according to prosecutors, and the office was never furnished. When the victim could no longer afford his home, Pham allegedly persuaded him to sell it and then pocketed nearly $7,000 as a “referral fee.” Pham broke off contact with the victim in September 2009 and he was forced into bankruptcy. It was only then that he contacted police.

Pham was arrested Wednesday. Investigators found that she had gambled away more than $1 million at a casino in Placerville in the intervening years and had both the Lexus and a $100,000 BMW repossessed. Pham faces a felony charge of theft from an elder and a potential sentence of up to six years in prison, Bourlard said.

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