Police arrested a Chinese national in connection with the so-called blessing scam, Officer Gordon Shyy said Monday.
The 61-year-old suspect was arrested Oct. 27 in New York City as she was reportedly trying to flee the U.S. back to China, Shyy said. She was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The investigation was handled by the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, along with agencies in New York, Shyy said.
The suspect was wanted in two blessing-scam incidents in San Francisco and at least one in both Los Angeles and New York City, Shyy said.
She is currently being held in New York and is awaiting extradition to San Francisco on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, extortion and elder abuse.
Police have not released the name of the suspect, but have released a picture.
The blessing scam has cost at least one San Francisco woman $120,000 in cash and jewelry.
The scammers reportedly approach their victims and one of them poses as a doctor and informs the victim that they are suffering from an illness or curse that could hurt their loved ones. The victims are advised to bring their valuables to the suspects so they can be blessed.
During the blessing, the valuables are usually replaced by the scammers using sleight of hand and the victims don’t realize they were swindled until later.