BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Bed-Stuy woman swindled more than $300,000 from friends in an elaborate loan scam, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.
Lurene Elias, who goes by the alias Helen Lurene Elias, stole money from at least 10 people over the course of about three years, a statement from the DA's office says.
Elias, 48, told her friends she had inherited a multi-million dollar estate and needed money to clear costs such as liens and taxes, officials said.
Her friends lent her amounts of up to $105,000 at a time from December 2010 to May 2013 after she promised them large returns and double repayments, but they never saw their money again, according to officials.
Officials said Elias, a Fulton Street resident, showed victims fake documents, including a bank account statement with a $13 million balance.
When friends asked for repayment, she asked for more money, citing additional fees. If they were unable to give, Elias allegedly urged friends to reach out to family and acquaintances for the funds, according to the District Attorney's office.
“This defendant allegedly ripped off people who trusted her because they all shared a Caribbean heritage,” Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said in a statement.
Elias was arrested on April 13 and charged with grand larceny, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of a forged instrument. She pled not guilty to the charges, according to online court records.
Elias' bail was set at $150,000 bond and $75,000 cash. She is due back in court on June 24.
Her attorney did not immediately return request for comment.