Posted on: November 29, 2022, 11:33h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 11:50h.
A Texas woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly swindling more than $1.2 million from an older man residing in Indiana. Police allege the woman used the bulk of the money to fund her gambling addiction.
Lorraine Rew, 46, of Fort Worth, Texas, earlier this month was charged by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office with elder exploitation, theft, money laundering, and 10 counts of counterfeiting.
Law enforcement alleges that Rew began a relationship over the internet with David Tieman in late 2019. The two first began exchanging messages on Twitter before moving to text.
Tieman told police he was the victim of a scheme where he fell for Rew’s lies about her daughter’s health. Tieman alleges that over a roughly 18-month period, he repeatedly transferred money to Rew for her to obtain life-saving medical care for her daughter. Rew reportedly told Tieman that her daughter had a heart issue that required costly medication and routine exams and procedures.
During the roughly year-and-a-half alleged scheme, bank records show that Tieman withdrew more than $1.2 million from his retirement funds and personal checking and savings accounts, and sent the money to Rew.
Tieman says he met Rew in person in 2021 and shared a photograph the two took together with law enforcement.
Casino Habit Funding
Police believe Rew’s daughter had no health ailment but was instead using the money to bankroll her gambling addiction. Tarrant County prosecutors say Rew visited casinos in Oklahoma at least 324 times during her online relationship with Tieman. That means Rew averaged a casino trip more than every other day.
IRS W2 forms, which casinos issue to players when they win a certain amount, show that Rew won more than $1.45 million gambling between Dec. 30, 2019, through Jan. 1, 2022. A major purchase during the time in question included a new Buick Enclave, an SUV that comes with a starting retail price of $44,800.
How much Rew lost during her repeated high-stakes gambling trips isn’t clear.
Tieman told police Rew promised to reimburse him once her insurance company, Cigna, chipped in for the monthly medication and ongoing doctor visits and medical checkups that her daughter needed. But reimbursements never came.
Law enforcement says Cigna confirmed that Rew nor her daughter have active health insurance policies.
Unfortunately, online dating creates great opportunities for scammers,” Federal Trade Commission Regional Director Matthew Wernz told NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“The numbers are so great that it really is a testament to how easy it is for someone to get lured into a romance scam, even if they’re not actively looking for dating opportunities online. Scammers often use really pressing needs that they have for money to convince someone of their needs,” Wernz continued.
Rew in Custody
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Rew is being held in the Tarrant County Prison without bail.
Police say Rew’s favored casinos in Oklahoma were the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant and WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville. WinStar is only about an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, while Durant is about two hours.
Both casinos are tribally owned and operated.
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