Beware Strangers with Sob Stories

Grocery run to Walmart ends up costing 90-year-old almost $3000.

By John Lomax February 24, 2014

A Houston woman with several aliases is on the run after police say she preyed on the generosity of an elderly man in a Walmart parking lot and then bilked him out of almost $3000.

According to court documents, James Ward, 90, drove to the Walmart at 21150 Kuykendahl to buy groceries this past September. As soon as he parked, a woman calling herself “Anna Goldman” approached him and unspooled a tale of woe. She was a single mother and in desperate need of food for her babies back at home.  

Ward told police that her story moved him enough to agree to buy Goldman a minimal amount of groceries—maybe $40 or $50 worth. She followed him into the store, but soon it was not just Goldman but Goldman and three unknown females filling up shopping carts as Ward watched, confused. When he asked Goldman about the other woman, she bamboozled Ward even more than he already was.

After 45 minutes, Ward headed for checkout with his shopping, followed by four women with shopping carts full to the brim. As he was trying to figure out how to handle the situation, Goldman talked him out of his credit card, and ran herself and her three friends through the register to the tune of $1,880.02.

Goldman then told Ward that she needed a few more items at the Kroger across the street and headed over with her friends and his credit card. After ringing up another $1,011.90 in groceries, Goldman handed Ward back his credit card. A confused and demoralized Ward went home and called the Harris County Precinct 4 Constables, who determined that Goldman was in fact a woman named Giget For, who was then out on bond, facing two counts of felony theft. (In 2012, For was no-billed after an elderly man she met in a parking lot accused her of conning him out of more than $33,000 over the course of several weeks. She told that man her name was “Lisa” and has also used “Nancy Soto” as an alias.)  

Last week For failed to appear for pretrial supervision and when and if she is caught by police, she will face felony bond-jumping charges in addition to three felony theft charges.

For, 32, is described as a white female, 5’4” and 155 pounds, with brown hair. Her last known address was 37 Tidwell in north Houston.

Con artists prey on a full range of emotions, ranging from fear to vanity to greed. Indeed most cons succeed because the mark believes there is something in it for him. As the Brits say, “You can’t con an honest John.” Though victim-blaming is always wrong, you can’t help but feel a little less sorry for someone whose own greed was turned against them in a lottery scam or Nigerian prince flim-flam, than these elderly marks, who were only trying to help women and children in need.

Beware all strangers in parking lots—your charity might be repaid with fraud. 

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