Indiana detective recovers nearly $10K for scam victim

An Indiana man was able to recover nearly $10,000 after he was scammed last month thanks to the work of a detective, WXIN reported.

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“These cases are tough to solve,” Johnson County Sheriff’s Detective James Bryant told the television station. “In solvability, and recovery, I usually see zeros.”

Not this time. Blackwell’s diligence and some good timing helped recover $9,950 for Edinburgh resident Jim Blackwell.

In December, Blackwell thought he was buying a John Deere mini-excavator at a 75 percent discount from an online seller who listed her name as Laura Anderson.

"The story was, the woman's husband was killed by a drunk driver and just wanted it gone," Blackwell told WXIN. "If it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true."

Blackwell wired $9,950 for the vehicle, expecting it to be delivered by a company named VSN Vehicle Deliveries, the television station reported.

"About a week later, I realized the machine wasn't coming and I had been scammed," Blackwell told WXIN. "Their webpage was immaculate. The VSN thing was very, very well done."

VSN Vehicle Deliveries did not exist, and neither did Laura Anderson. The address for the company belonged to a shipping business unrelated to VSN, WXIN reported. The excavator Blackwell thought he was getting was located in northern Indiana and was for sale by another company, the television station reported.

Bryant went to work, tracking Blackwell's money transfer to a Bank of America account in California, which had been frozen because bank officials had fraud concerns, the detective told WXIN.

“They froze the money because they’d seen $70,000 move through the account in a period of days,” Bryant said.

When the account was frozen, Bryant discovered that $9,950 -- the exact amount Blackwell wired -- was still in the account. Bryant worked with the Johnson County Prosecutor's Office to send a court order to the bank, WXIN reported.

“It seized the money and it ordered them to return it to Jim Blackwell,” Bryant told the television station.

Bryant said people should be skeptical of cheap online deals that are not available anywhere else.

"Selling things for 25-cents on the dollar doesn't keep the lights on," Bryant told WXIN.

“(I) didn’t expect anything back and the fact that (Bryant) went the extra mile and did the things he had to do to make it happen, is pretty amazing,” Blackwell told the television station. “Appreciate it a lot.”

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