West Sayville woman scammed out of life savings

A West Sayville widow lost her life savings to a scam artist who called her claiming to be a federal agent.

A West Sayville widow lost her life savings to a scam artist who called her claiming to be a federal agent. (7/18/16)

WEST SAYVILLE - A West Sayville widow lost her life savings to a scam artist who called her claiming to be a federal agent.

Mary van Essendelft says the caller claimed that back taxes were owed on a house her family owned. If they weren't paid, the call said her oldest son, who has a learning disability, would be arrested.

The 79-year-old woman said the scammer told her, "You can't tell anybody, you can't contact anybody, your house is bugged, your phone is bugged."

Van Essendelft spent the next few weeks withdrawing money from her bank account and depositing it in other banks where it was withdrawn electronically. 

"Every day he would call me," van Essendelft said. "Every morning. And the last time I said 'I just don't have anymore. I can't give you anymore, you've taken everything I've got.’"

The caller then told van Essendelft to get money from a relative. That is when she finally told her children what was happening. 

In total, van Essendelft lost about $100,000.

The IRS says it would never call someone at home and ask for money or for private information.

Suffolk police and the FBI are handling her case, but van Essendelft says she has not heard from them in months.

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