They met online at SeniorPeopleMeet.com, a dating site for seniors aged 50 and older. He said his name was Oscar Raymond Saucedo. He said he was from Gastonia but working in California. He said he needed money. And he told her how to get it.
That’s what Teresa Swaim Edmonds, 54, of Elkin, told police when she was arrested in April 2014.
For allegedly running up nearly $92,000 on other people’s credit cards, a Surry County Grand Jury indicted Edmonds on Monday with 15 counts of identity theft and four counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses.
According to officers, 18 individuals — all from other states — are listed as victims of the alleged scheme as well as two companies, Discover Card and Capital One.
Elkin Police Detective Josh Tulbert and Lt. Mendy Peles began investigating Edmonds when the department received reports of a scam by two of the victims, Kevin Shaw, of Albany, New York, and Jerold Montgomery, of Mountain Home, Arkansas.
According to an affidavit by Tulbert and an arrest warrant, Edmonds used Shaw’s information to obtain a credit card in his name which was shipped to Edmonds — whom he didn’t know and had never met — at her home in Elkin.
The card was used to purchase a Macbook Pro computer and two iPad Air tablets, and was used at Best Buy in Winston-Salem, according to court documents.
During the investigation, which Elkin Police Capt. Kim Robison said ultimately logged about 200 hours, investigators tracked Edmonds from information from the Best Buy transaction and her address, eventually executing a search warrant at her home.
During an interview with Tulbert, Edmonds allegedly said Saucedo taught her how to get the money he needed by scamming people through online dating sites.
One warrant states Edmonds allegedly told the victim the money was to be used to pay fees for importing artwork, which would be paid once the artwork was delivered. The artwork never showed; the money never repaid.
Some victims allegedly wired cash to Edmonds, under the pretense that she would use the money to travel to meet in person.
Allegedly, Edmonds never showed.
Another warrant alleges the victim was told by Edmonds he needed to wire her $400 for checks sent to him by an attorney in New Jersey.
The checks were allegedly fraudulent.
But with most of the victims, Edmonds allegedly would obtain their credit card account number and either use it or send it along to Saucedo.
Robison said Edmonds would either talk the victim into adding her as an authorized user for a credit card or add herself by contacting the credit card company directly.
“It’s really easy to track someone on the Internet to find an address or previous address, or come up with the answers to security questions like a pet’s or relative’s name,” said Robison.
Edmonds told Tulbert that once she had the account information, she’d either send it directly to Saucedo or use it to purchase items to send to him at addresses in Malaysia, Nigeria and South Africa.
A few purchased items were still in boxes when officers executed a search warrant at Edmonds’ home, although it couldn’t determine if Edmonds had intended on keeping them or sending them to Saucedo.
Investigators have not been able to identify or locate Saucedo, which is believed to be a fake name.
“Identity theft and obtaining property by false pretense are not uncommon around here,” Robison said. “The way it happened is.”
Brian Royster, a Mount Airy attorney, was appointed to represent Edmonds, who is scheduled to appear in Surry County Superior Court on Oct. 27.
Terri Flagg can be reached at 336-415-4734 or [email protected]