Elderly man scammed out of $140K - WNEM TV 5

Elderly man scammed out of $140K

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

A Michigan man has learned that the hard way.

Elizabeth Szuel was visiting her 95-year-old grandfather when she discovered his hidden secret.

"I saw piles of these scams and he would write on them, date them. He would write 'winner,'" she said.

Stanley Szuel, who lives in Charlevoix, was getting hundreds and hundreds of the letters promising he had won the Spanish lottery. The letters were nothing more than a scam.

"To get it through customs they needed $10,000. So he sent it. That was the first big one," Elizabeth Szuel said.

Her grandfather began sending more and more money, hoping for a big payout. Instead, it cost him his entire life savings - totaling more than $140,000.

His family wasn't aware of what he was doing until it was too late.

"It's devastating. This is an innocent man that believes in being honest and expects everyone else to be honest," said Rebecca Szuel, relative.

Their family believe the scammers preyed on vulnerable people like their grandfather. Now he's left with nothing.

"It's disgusting because he can still call my grandfather and know he has no money, but he will take his last $20, last $30," Elizabeth Szuel said.

The scammers began to take over Stanley Szuel's life. They even changed his phone number so his family could not contact him.

Elizabeth Szuel contacted local law enforcement and the FBI, who are investigating the claims.

"I know the money will never return. I just don't want other elderly people to be taken advantage of like this," she said.

Elizabeth Szuel said the scammers would send her grandfather little thank you gifts like fake gold necklaces and clothing. They would also talk to him on the phone to build relationships with him to string him along.

Now she has control over her grandfather's money and is trying to help get him by.

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