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The Madera Tribune

Con man will have to wait for his check

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webmaster | 03/27/13

Mary Kutzer, 82, who lives in the Bonadelle Ranchos, wants to warn others of a scam attempt that was tried on her and may be tried on others.

It is the old "send me a check for $1,500 and I will send you a check for $20 million" scheme that isn't exactly new, but nevertheless manages to catch somebody every once in a while.

"I got a call this morning," she said Tuesday, "and the caller said 'I'm calling from the California customs department in Southern California, and my name is Don Pederson. You were chosen to receive $20 million and a 2013 Mercedes Benz.' He knew my address and my first name, which is Waltraud, but everybody calls me Mary." She said her first name is German; she was born in Berlin.

"Then he said, 'However, for you to receive the $20 million, there will be somebody on your doorstep tomorrow. However, for some of the taxes, you have to send me a check for $1,500.'

"At this time, I was naked when I answered the phone, and dripping wet, because I had just taken a shower. So, I said, 'Let me dry off and you can call me back.'"

She said she was determined to get the caller's address and phone number. She called the sheriff's department, and an officer said to try to get the number through caller ID. "All it said was incoming call, though."

The man who called himself Don Pederson called her back, and she told him she would write a check and send it to him as soon as she got back from a doctor's appointment."

The perp told her to have the check sent by overnight express and get a routing number by 2 p.m.

She was supposed to send the check to Harry Malcolm, 2001 SE Maple Valley Highway, Apt. 16, Renton, WA 98057.

Harry Malcolm will be waiting quite a while for that check. Mary Kutzer is a sharp cookie, and she has done us a real service.


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