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Reduced bail refused in alleged scam

Woman is accused of cheating elderly man out of $70,000

A 2nd District judge this past week refused to reduce bail for a woman accused of scamming an elderly man out of more than $70,000 after making him believe she would marry him.

Linda Sandall, 57, was arrested for investigation of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree felony, and two counts of forgery and one count of fraudulent handling of recordable writings, all third-degree felonies.

Sandall met the 77-year-old man when she began cleaning his house for him, said Ogden police detective Dave Weloth. That business relationship eventually turned into a personal relationship and the man soon thought he was engaged to marry Sandall.

But unknown to the victim, the woman was already married. Weloth said her real husband was "very shocked and upset" when he learned what his wife had allegedly done.

The elderly victim is described by police as a "vulnerable person who lacks the capacity to understand what has happened to him." In fact, even after Sandall was arrested Oct. 8, the man believed he was still engaged to her, Weloth said.

"He does not believe he is a victim," Weloth said. "(People like the man) don't realize they're a victim but that doesn't mean a crime didn't take place."

Even though the man knew he was now in debt, he tried to tell investigators he spent his money on bills. But when asked what bills he had paid, the man was unable to answer, Weloth said.

Sandall is accused of receiving $46,000 worth of personal checks from the man. There was also an unusual amount of ATM activity on the man's account after he met Sandall, Weloth said.

A credit card was also obtained during this time in the man's name and was quickly maxed out, he said. He then got a limit increase on the card and that was maxed out, Weloth said.

The man also took out $60,000 in loans putting up his house as collateral.

In all, the man was left more than $70,000 in debt.

The illegal activity was discovered when the man's credit union noticed a lot of unusual activity with his account and reported it to police.

As of Friday, Weloth said none of the money had been recovered.

"I don't know where the money went," he said.

Investigators said there is no evidence to suggest the woman had any other victims.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com