New Palestine man scammed over $1 million by Texas woman

0
2759

Lorraine Marie Rew

HANCOCK COUNTY — Officials with the Hancock County prosecutor’s office say a Fort Worth, Texas woman scammed a New Palestine man out of over $1 million, claiming she was using the money to pay medical expenses.

Lorraine Marie Rew, 46, was arrested in Texas on Nov. 16 and is awaiting extradition, officials from the prosecutor’s office said in a press release. Rew has been charged with a Level 5 felony charge of corrupt business influence, and 10 different Level 6 felonies in a case opened in Hancock County Circuit Court Nov. 16.

According to a 25-page probable cause affidavit, Rew met and befriended a New Palestine man on a social media platform and started a relationship. Shortly after that, officials say she began asking him for money. From Oct. 2020 through Feb. 2022, the man sent Rew cash numerous times totaling approximately $1.2 million.

Rew, officials said in the affidavit, told the man she needed money for her heart medication and to pay medical bills for her daughter who she said had a serious condition requiring surgical procedures and expensive medications.

Rew also told the man she was required to pay the medical expenses upfront, due to an issue with the health insurance she had through her employer. The probable cause affidavit also states Rew told the man she would be reimbursed through her insurance company and would repay him.

The affidavit noted Rew created a fake email account, supposedly one representing the company where she said she worked and was covered by health insurance. Emails from the fake account stated Rew’s employer was taking care of the insurance issue and a reimbursement would be forthcoming, the affidavit said.

Officials with the U.S. Postal Inspector reviewed financial transactions between the parties and could not determine if those transactions were legitimate and therefore, opened an investigation, officials said.

The man told the investigator he provided Rew funds from his personal IRA, a mutual fund, checking and savings accounts, credit card advances and personal loans, the affidavit said. He used several different financial institutions for the cash transfers as well as the U.S. Postal Service, cashier’s checks, wire transfers and peer-to-peer cash transfer apps.

The man stated Rew consistently assured him once the insurance company received all the money needed for prepaid medical expenses they would “release” the reimbursement to her and she would repay him.

An investigation of the records indicated Rew instead used the money to finance her lifestyle, which included frequent visits to two casinos in Oklahoma. The investigation found over a two-year period, she visited the Durant casino 167 times. She visited the Thackerville facility 157 times over a six-month period.

The postal inspector could find no record that any of the money the man sent Rew was used to pay medical expenses officials said, in the affidavit.

The investigator also found neither Rew or her daughter had accounts with the hospital from Nov. 2019 through April 2022 — the time during which she allegedly defrauded the victim.

Rew is currently in custody in the Tarrant County Jail. Local officials have filed paperwork for a Governor’s Warrant to secure extradition and bring her back to Hancock County to face the criminal charges.

Judge Scott Sirk ordered Rew to be held without bond pending her local court appearance.