There it was—shiny and heavy. The deal sounded too good to pass up for San Jose’s Rosa Cortes.
So she gave a couple of men she had just met $1,900 for a bar of what she believed to be a pound of gold. Cortes later discovered it was gold all right -- fool’s gold.
“I feel so bad, angry,” she said. “And embarrassing at the same time.”
San Jose Police say Cortes is not alone. Detectives have seen an increase over the last year in financial crimes.
They say a couple of criminal rings are responsible for targeting the elderly and non-English speakers.
“With the economic times we do have the elderly spending their life savings that they saved up for 30 years, giving it away,” Officer Jermaine Thomas said.
Cortes was duped last Thursday on the corner of Hamilton and Meridian Avenues by two men pretending they had just met.
The men told her they found gold in a suitcase along with a dentist’s I.D. badge.
Cortes says she bought the scam, knowing dentists sometimes use gold fillings on patients.
One of the men had an envelope full of cash, claiming it was $15,000. They said it was money a jeweler had just given them for a similar bar of gold.
“The way they plan everything, that makes the story real," Cortes said.
She filed a police report Monday, hoping investigators confiscate surveillance video at a Washington Mutual Bank on Capitol Expressway in East San Jose where she withdrew money with one of the men to give to them.
“I know I can’t get my money back,” she said. “But I know they need to be punished.”
Police warn it sounds too good to be true it mostly always is.