ORLANDO, Fla. - A man scammed his 78-year-old grandmother out of her life savings so he could buy drugs, a ring for his girlfriend and a motorcycle, Orlando police said.
Police said 23-year-old Gary Christopher Jones is facing felony fraud charges for stealing nearly $200,000 from his grandmother.
According to investigators, Jones and his friends even posed as people working at the Seminole County courthouse, looking to collect fines to take his grandmother's money.
Thelma Jones said it was love that led her to be duped out of her life savings by her grandson.
Police said Gary Jones told his grandmother he couldn't join the Army unless he paid outstanding court costs in Seminole County.
"By the time I got involved with it, it was something like $3,070, but it just grew from there," said Thelma Jones.
Thelma Jones said she started receiving phone calls from several different people claiming to work at the courthouse, some even claiming to be a judge.
"About every couple of days, sometimes even two a day and the fines had to be paid that day, right now," she said.
If Thelma Jones didn't pay, the person claiming to be with the court system said her grandson would be arrested.
"That he would go away to jail at least for a year, possibly prison; that's what I was told. 'And then, we'll come after you,'" said Thelma Jones.
Thelma Jones said she always had to pay in cash and give it to her grandson to go pay the courts.
"I can't tell you why I did it though; I'm not dumb," said Thelma Jones.
Thelma Jones said she went through all of her retirement money and even borrowed money.
He wasn't caught until a law enforcement neighbor and friend got wind of the scam.
"I don't know how I feel," said Thelma Jones. "I feel hurt, really hurt."
Police don't know if Gary Jones' girlfriend had anything to do with it. She said she moved to Texas once she realized what he was doing.
Gary Jones is being held at the Orange County Jail on $5,100 bail.
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