Florida Grandmother Arrested for Scamming Friends out of More Than $1 Million

Doris Siegel, 78, has been arrested and charged with scamming friends.

ByABC News
March 31, 2010, 11:58 AM

March 31, 2010— -- Florida cops are trying to figure out what alleged "granny scammer" Doris Siegel did with the more than $1 million that police say she bilked out of her friends and her pastor.

Police are also asking people to come forward if they believe they are victims of Siegel's alleged scam.

"We have had more victims come in, but we're still seeking more victims," Brooksville Police Chief George Turner told ABC News today.

Siegel, who is 78, was arrested last Wednesday. She remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 in bond.

"She admitted she lied to these people, but said she doesn't know why," the police chief said.

Turner is also at a loss to explain why Siegel allegedly went on a five year scam spree that authorities say began after she was duped out of more than $10,000 by Nigerian hucksters in Holland.

"I've seen cases like this before, where victims have been suckered in, but never had a case where the victim went out and victimized about 14 other people to send their money over. She went from being a victim herself to a perpetrator," the police chief said.

The chief is also taken aback by the results of Siegel's alleged scam.

"Some gave small amounts, 300 bucks, another for $330,000. A couple gave $78,000. They live in a trailer park and are going to be foreclosed on now. They have nothing. That was their life savings and it's now gone," Turner said.

One of Siegel's alleged victims, James Ford, spoke to ABC News and said Siegel talked him into giving her $22,000 and that she pawned jewelry that had great sentimental value to help Siegel.

The money, he said she told him, was needed to pay the taxes on her lottery winnings and when she collected her money she would pay him back twice what he gave her, Ford , 50, told ABC News.

"She seemed like the most sincere, sweetest woman you'd ever want to meet in your life. She knows exactly what she was doing," he said.