GRAND ISLAND — A 65-year-old Grand Island woman was arrested last week following a California-based investigation into a case of elder financial exploitation.
Constance Reimers was charged Thursday in Hall County Court with conspiracy to commit a Class 2A felony and theft by deception totaling $5,000 or more.
Her arrest was based on an investigation that was initiated by investigators from the FBI Elder Justice Task Force in San Diego County.
The investigation leads “the Hall County Sheriff’s Office to believe that this case has crossed into other surrounding communities in Nebraska and across state lines,” a news release said. “While some victims have been identified as a part of this investigation, we suspect that more financial victims exist. We hope that this arrest will empower victims of elder financial exploitation to come forward.”
Investigators believe that at least two victims in the case live in Nebraska, Hall County Chief Deputy Josh Berlie said.
According to the affidavit, Reimers established a relationship with an Oceanside, California, man through the Zoosk dating site, as well as Google Hangouts and email. The relationship “quickly turned romantic,” and Reimers began to ask the man “to send her money for various reasons,” the affidavit says.
Those reasons included paying rent, helping with a financial burden caused by COVID-19 and “helping to pay 40 years of storage fees so that Reimers could inherit a gold fortune that she was entitled to.”
In total, the Oceanside man allegedly sent nearly $475,000 to the Grand Island woman.
The affidavit alleges that Reimers and another individual “were part of a network of scammers associated with Nana Yaw Awuah Marfo, who resides in the United States but was born in Ghana.”
At Reimers’ arraignment Thursday, Hall County Court Judge John Rademacher set bond at $50,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13.
Reimers was released on bond after posting 10% of the $50,000 amount.