Woman uses ‘romance scam’ to steal nearly $34,000 from pun app player, police say
By KTVK/KPHO Staff
Gilbert, Arizona (KTVK, KPHO) – A ‘romance scam’ cost a woman nearly $34,000 and now a Gilbert woman is facing fraud charges. Officers arrested Carla Ann Whaley, 70, at her home on Monday afternoon.
According to court documents, the woman told police in late November that she believed she was talking to a man named “Garth Davis” on the popular game app Words With Friends. The victim told officers she felt lonely after her husband died earlier that year. She told police she started talking with ‘Garth’ in March 2021 on Google Hangouts when she started sending him cash cards and gift cards when he told her he had trouble accessing their bank account. When she broke her foot and couldn’t leave her house to go to the store and buy the cards, “Garth” told her to start sending money to Whaley, who, according to he was his friend.
The woman sent Whaley $20,000 in cash and $3,000 via CashApp through July. The woman became suspicious and called the police soon after, who came to Whaley’s home to speak to her. According to court documents, Whaley told police the name “Garth Davis” was familiar to him, but was “not on his list.” Court documents say Whaley also told police she was helping a friend move money, but did not tell officers who that friend was. Police discovered that the victim had lost a total of almost $34,000.
In late December, Whaley was taken to Gilbert Police Station for further questioning. Court documents say Whaley told police she “wasn’t entirely truthful” the first time she spoke with police and admitted to receiving $20,000 in cash from the woman. Police searched Whaley’s CashApp and saw that money she had in the app was exchanged for cryptocurrency and bitcoin and then exchanged for cash. Whaley transferred just over $10,000 from CashApp to his credit union account from July to August. Police say “Garth” is an unknown suspect. Whaley was jailed on Monday. Whaley faces a fraudulent scheme boss and a criminal syndicate fundraising boss.
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