Fake diamond scam claims 3rd victim; police seeking public's help
TAYLORSVILLE — After a third victim reported being scammed by women offering a fake diamond, police are again asking the public to help them find two women who are believed to be involved in all three incidents.
The most recent report involved a victim who was approached at Wal-Mart, 5469 S. Redwood Road, on Feb. 20, according to Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. A woman described as being Hispanic, in her mid-20s and around 4 feet 11 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes approached the victim and said her husband was in the hospital.
She said she had a diamond to sell for $5,000. A second woman, also Hispanic and around 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 180 pounds, told the victim she was also buying a diamond for $10,000 to help the woman. She told the victim both diamonds were worth $14,000, Hoyal said.
The victim agreed to buy the diamond for $5,000 and the two suspects accompanied her to the bank. The victim withdrew the money and paid the suspect.
She later learned the diamond was a fake.
The incident was nearly identical to an incident in West Valley City on Feb. 16 in which two Hispanic women approached another woman who was shopping near 3100 South and 5600 West and told her they needed help.
One of the women offered a story about her family being hurt in a terrible car accident earlier that day and said she needed money to cover medical expenses, according to police. The second woman explained she was helping her raise the necessary funds.
The pair asked the woman to buy a diamond for $5,000 and promised a $14,000 return. That purported gem also ended up being fake.
One of the suspects is also believed to be responsible for a third incident in Orem. On Feb. 13, a Hispanic woman approached another woman in the University Mall pleading for help. She, too, said she had a husband who had been in an accident and she needed help paying for medical bills.
She asked for $8,000 and offered up a "diamond" as collateral until she could repay the money at the end of the week. After she paid the money, the woman disappeared and the diamond was revealed to be glass.
Hoyal said it's "most likely" that the same woman is responsible for each of the scams and Unified police are working with Orem and West Valley City officers to track the woman and her accomplice down.
"People are creative and will come up with different ways to scam people and this is one of those," he said.
Anyone with information about either of the suspects has been asked to call 385-468-9447. Meantime, Hoyal said the public needs to be on the alert for this scam and others.
"If you are concerned about a situation we would recommend that you do some more research or call the police," Hoyal said. "If someone is approaching you with a situation you don't feel comfortable with, call the police."
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