HENDERSON, Nev. - Several months ago, 91-year-old Carl Scharfenberg met a younger woman named Danielle in the Food For Less supermarket on Horizon Drive and Boulder Highway.
Carl says a few chance encounters turned into long conversations in the store. Then, she disappeared until one day five months later when his phone rang.
"She told me who she was and wanted to know whether she could borrow $4,000. She had to go into the hospital… that she had cancer," Carl said.
They met at Sunset Station. She got the cash, but said she needed more.
"She wanted to know if I would give her $1,750," Carl said. "Her landlady was going to kick her out of her house."
Carl gave her the money. The woman then said she needed a car – a brand new Tahoe from Fairway Chevrolet with special tires and rims. The vehicle cost $46,000.
Carl paid in cash. All of this spending happened during the course of one weekend. Carl says Danielle also hit up Gucci, Macy's, Dillard's and Kmart for huge shopping sprees on his dime. In all, Carl spent $75,000.
Carl's son John Scharfenberg panicked. His father was missing, so he filed a police report. Carl didn't surface for three days. That's when he told police and his son about Danielle.
"My trigger for concern happened on a Friday night," John said. "There are too many red flags coming up about this friend."
John and Carl turned to 8 on Your Side to seek help with a refund for the vehicle. 8 on Your Side talked with Fairway Chevrolet General Manager Terry Hoisington.
"Once we inspected it and saw it was in good shape, we said let's wipe this out and refund you all your money," Hoisington said.
A big chunk of the money Carl spent was back in his pocket. The battle with his credit card companies over the remaining purchases continues.
Carl is happy this chapter of his life has come to a close, and he wants other seniors to know this can happen to them. Carl had no clue and still struggles with the reality of it.
"You can't tell who the people are who will do it," he said. "Even after everything, you still think she's a nice person. Well, she appeared nice."
Henderson Police are investigating this case. So far, no arrests have been made.
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