It continues to appear that if you are the victim of a scam, you are out of luck – unless you live in Kosciusko County.
For years Ive been writing about people who have been taken for sometimes thousands of dollars, and the only advice Ive been able to offer victims is that they tell everyone they know, just so their friends are informed and dont become victims, too.
Meanwhile, the philosophy has been that once your money is in the hands of a scammer, its gone.
Unless, that is, you live in Kosciusko County.
This week, a man who conned a Kosciusko County woman out of $4,000 is in deep trouble in Florida thanks to a detective with the Kosciusko County Sheriffs Department, and regardless of how his case turns out, hell have a felony warrant waiting for him in Indiana.
The scam started when a Kosciusko County woman tried to sell a time share that she owned in Florida. The woman got a call from a man claiming to be with a company called Beverly Hills Title Services, supposedly based in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Over the course of several telephone conversations, Derick Cordero convinced the woman that he had found a buyer, but to close the deal she would have to pay more than $4,000 to cover title work and closing costs.
The woman complied, sending the money to Beverly Hills, then heard nothing more. Eventually she realized shed been taken and contacted the Kosciusko County Sheriffs Department.
A detective started snooping, subpoenaed some bank records and discovered that the womans payment had been forwarded to an address in Florida. The detective then obtained a copy of the check, signed by Cordero.
But the detective needed the help of police in Florida, so they staked out Corderos home and discovered he wasnt just a scammer but a drug dealer. In his house, police found $30,000 worth of marijuana, all prepackaged and ready for sale.
Cordero is probably in a lot more trouble over the drug charges in Florida than the $4,000 scam, but the sheriffs department in Kosciusko County vows to keep an active felony warrant for him.
This is the second time the sheriffs department has busted a scammer. Last year, the same detective tracked down a man in New York who had filed a bogus tax return in a Kosciusko County residents name, collecting a fat, fraudulent return.
The detective, with the help of police in New York, showed up at that scammers front door, arrested him and hauled him back to Kosciusko County.
That particular scammer – who was in the U.S. illegally, by the way – was eventually fined, sentenced to time served in Kosciusko County and deported to Sri Lanka.
A spokesman for the sheriffs department noted that all the travel involved in these cases isnt paid for by taxpayers.
Those expenses are covered by an account that is funded by fees charged to people who are convicted of crimes.
Granted, the Kosciusko County detective has run down only two scammers, leaving about a million still on the loose. But maybe his methods will catch on elsewhere.