Contact 6: Con artist nearly scams woman out of home

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Elderly people can be a target for con artists, and FOX6's Contact 6 found one victim who is on the verge of losing everything.

"My uncle and aunt purchased this house in 1948. It was paid off in the 70s," Jackie Keller-Smith said.

Keller-Smith is trying to help her 88-year-old aunt save her home from foreclosure after a con artist stole it right out from under her.

"He said 'if you let me stay, I will give you $50 dollars a week,' I think he said. He didn`t give me nothing," Agnes Dismuke said.

"He" is a man named Larry Bradshaw, who convinced Dismuke to give him her power of attorney, according to postal inspectors.

"He used the power of attorney to obtain credit cards and loans for his own personal gain," U.S. Postal Inspector Don Washington said.

Postal inspectors say Bradshaw refinanced Agnes' home with a reverse mortgage, made off with $51,000 and Agnes never saw a dime.

"He didn`t see any husband here, and he just took advantage of me," Dismuke said.

She was unaware any of this was happening. Now, Agnes is in jeopardy of losing her home, which is in foreclosure.

"This is despicable. She has been here all of her life," Keller-Smith said.

Postal inspectors say this is an important warning for elderly living alone.

"If at all possible, get help from close friends or family especially before making financial transactions -- especially with people you don`t know," U.S. Postal Inspector Don Washington said.

City officials have halted plans to evict Agnes, but the possibility of her being forced out of her home is still a reality, as courts, banks and law enforcement officials try to reconcile all the issues.

Bradshaw was arrested in March on wire fraud charges, but has been released pending trial.