A 60-year-old accused of duping a vulnerable senior citizen out of her life savings and jewelry nearly got away with it.
The NY Post reports that Xue Fang Zhou, 60, was arrested in dramatic fashion last week, while she was waiting for her Cathay Airlines flight from New York to Hong Kong to take off. A source said, "She was sitting in her seat with this stunned look on her face when we approached. She thought she had gotten away with it, but then we took out our cuffs and she knew the jig was up. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie."
Zhou, who is on a criminal "Watch List" and is believed to be involved in other scams in Los Angeles and San Francisco, allegedly found a target in Chinatown. The scam? Prey upon superstitious Chinese victims and convince them to give up huge amounts in order to cleanse beloved relatives of "evil spirits."
According to the Post, "Zhou told the victim that her son had evil spirits around him. The frightened victim asked what she could do about it. Zhou said she would cleanse the spirits by blessing all of the victim’s cash and jewelry. So the victim turned over her life savings — $60,000 — and her jewelry. During the blessing, Zhou distracted the victim and disappeared with the money and baubles."
The victim told the police and Zhou reportedly confessed. Last year, the NYPD was looking for a trio of Chinese women who pulled the evil spirit cleansing scam on 72-year-old: "The victim returned to her home and placed money in a bag. The victim is instructed not to open the bag for several days to chase away the evil spirits. When the victim opened the bag a couple of hours later she found newspapers and a water bottle."