(WOODSFIELD, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Monroe County Prosecutor James L. Peters Friday announced that a Monroe County woman has been indicted for allegedly stealing over $700,000 from elderly people and other individuals in eastern Ohio and West Virginia.
Darlene Baldwin, 66, of Clarington, was indicted by a Monroe County grand jury on Thursday on seven total counts, including theft from the elderly (a first degree felony), aggravated theft by deception (a third degree felony), attempted theft from the elderly (a fifth degree felony), two counts of telecommunications fraud (second degree felonies), and two counts of money laundering (third degree felonies).
According to investigators, Baldwin lied to people about needing money for various reasons, such as claiming she had a serious illness or that she was at risk of losing her home. She generally promised to pay people back promptly, but investigators determined that instead of paying people back, she wired the funds to other people, knowing the money would end up overseas with a man she had been communicating with online. Approximate losses among about 10 victims total $730,000.
An attorney from the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit was appointed to handle the case as a special prosecutor by the Monroe County Prosecutor.
The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office (in West Virginia) and the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Individuals who suspect a scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.