$10 million bond for retirement community scammer
Bond was set at $10 million Tuesday for a North Carolina woman accused of stealing the financial identities of four residents at an Erickson retirement community in north suburban Chicago. Authorities said she stole more than $155,000 from the residents and may have as many as 200 victims in other states, including Pennsylvania and New York.Police said Germaine Aretha Elcock called 35 residents of Sedgebrook Retirement Center in Lincolnshire, a 400-resident independent living center, to net her four known victims. Lake County, IL, prosecutors said she used seven or more aliases in the scam, calling each resident several times to gather more personal information so that "mirror" accounts could be set up.
Elcock, 32, was extradited from Fayetteville, NC, over the weekend and remained in the county jail after being denied a request for a public defender in Lake County Bond Court. Authorities say they do not know what she did with the funds she allegedly stole and that her telephone records list "approximately 200" others around the country who also may be scam victims.
The most severe of the five charges she faces comes with a mandatory prison sentence of six to 30 years upon conviction. An investigation is ongoing.