OCEAN GROVE, N.J. (CBS 2) — A New Jersey woman was scammed out of all of her money after being duped by a woman she met at church.
The grandmother is now struggling to pick up the pieces, reports CBS 2’s Alexis Christoforous.
“You should be able to trust people,” Nancy Yobbagy said. “I’m 78 years old. I was brought up that people shook people’s hands and made money deals, and they would never turn on you.”
Yobbagy worked hard, saved her money, and expected to retire on the Jersey Shore. Now, though, her house is in foreclosure and all of her money has been lost to a scam artist.
“I said, ‘well where is my money?’ And she said, ‘you don’t have any money now,’” Yobbagy said.
Yobbagy trusted that woman, Zina Martin, to invest her money. They met at church, and Yobbagy eventually handed over her modest pension, as well as that of her husband.
Yobbagy received statements every month showing impressive returns of 15 percent and more, but those statements were false. Prosecutors said Martin spent the money on herself, and it didn’t stop there.
“I got a call from a bank saying, ‘you’re in default on your mortgage,’” Yobbagy said. “I said, ‘you must have the wrong number, because my mortgage is paid.’”
Yobaggy hired a lawyer who said Zina Martin forged the paperwork for two mortgages – adding up to about $700,000 – and then let them go into default.
“She caused this house to go into foreclosure,” Yobbagy’s attorney, Richard DeVita, said. “Nancy has lost every cent of every dollar she’s ever worked for.”
Yobbagy raised four children and lost two of them to cancer. She said she’ll survive this tragedy too.
“I’m sad because I was foolish. I was foolish to trust her,” she said.
Zina Martin pleaded guilty to robbing investors of nearly $1 million. She’s serving a 10-year sentence, but that doesn’t bring back the Yobbagy family’s money. For Yobbagy, retirement is now an impossible dream.
Before going to prison, Zina Martin filed for bankruptcy. Prosecutors say she spent all of her investors’ money on personal expenses, like a Cadillac Escalade, and there’s nothing left to return to her victims.