NJ Woman Victim Of Scam Artist She Met In Church

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.

  • Davidpatterson

    To the people who believe that people who get conned or innocent,let me tell you from experience, and it’s a fact , you can not con a truly honest person, It just will not work, behind every con there is greed on both ends, the conner , and the conee The conee is the person who believe they will be rewarded with something on the cheap, the coner plays on the greed in every person, If you or a truly honest and above board person a con will not work. The lady was promised something, cheap, I don’t know what it was but if she was completely honest she would have went to her pastor to seek help, not fall for that old BAIT AND SWITCH.

  • Davidpatterson

    For people who think that victims of cons or innocent, let me tell you this, con’s only work if you or trying to get something for nothing or cheap You can not , and I repeat it , you can not con a honest person. But then what human is completely honest.

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  • Robert

    The woman who lost “everything”….the reason she lost it…because for her “everything” wasn’t enough…P.T. Barnum was right when he said “you can’t cheat an honest man”…..scam artists feed on peoples greed. Be happy with what you have.

  • dLegend

    Nancy Yobbagy~SORRY to hear about yr Story….
    AND~Altho it was bad…There’s also Good too….
    HAVE PATIENCE…Be Strong…..
    U have lived 78 yrs already; U know what it’s like now…..
    Just make & keep Happy…no matter what !
    Remember~U go to Church….
    Look up at the sky today & give a BIG SMILE TO THE LORD
    Halleluyah….God Bless U Ever More…Amen

  • DLegend

    If that woman came my way…I’ll wring her neck…!
    Just like what I’ll do with Madoff….!!!
    I’m sure there’s alot of unsold ropes @ the Hardware Store
    Use it on them….It’s cheaper then feeding them !
    America STAYS; it’s people like these that needs to GO >>
    That goes for all those lying & crooked Politicians too !!!

  • K Martinez

    10 years? Thats sick, she’s probably not even gonna do half of it. Chances are, she’ll get off. She’ll never do anything near the kind of punishment she deserves. We should lock people like this up in the nuthouse. Make them sit next to someone for 30 years who’s knitting something that isn’t there.

  • Quinn Mallory

    She should be able to recoup the loss of money, since the loans were based on fraud. The court should likewise be able to force Martin to pay back what she took by making her “unspend” the money she spent on herself.

  • Ben

    I’m curious… Why would Nancy Yobbagy loose any money from a fraudulent loan on her home? Shouldn’t the bank be responsible for loaning money to the wrong person? or the notary of public who certified the false identity. In California loans are processed through an escrow service who are responsible for preparing the paperwork. The bank should go after the person who committed the fraud for all the money, NOT Nancy Yobbagy. I would love to hear from an attorney who can explain why Nancy Yobbage is liable for the loans.

  • guest

    10 years.. She should have gotten the Bernie Madoff “Life” and the victim given all her assets dismissing bankruptcy protection especially if she she was under criminal investigation.

  • G

    If these people put as much effort into working a legit job yhey wouldn’t have to steal

    • DLegend

      U are RIGHT ‘G’…..but…

      In a way~They did it ‘legit’ & in Church too…LOL
      AND~Becoz of that~Zina needs MORE then 10 Years
      She was kool in doing it; I’m sure she can be ‘kool’ in there
      on a longer term….

  • Maegan

    I know how it feels…..I had been there.

  • devoe

    she can keep house she did not take out loan,who is helping her

  • Senior Advocate

    Is there something that can be done for Mrs. Yobbbagy? Can her community start a fund that one can donate to? How can we start a buzz on her behalf? I would certainly participate.

  • Edith

    I feel sorry for Mrs. Yobbagy…There is always a reason for everything. Be positive thinking and everything will be alright, Mrs Yobbagy..

  • Plan-It-Man

    This is so sad and it makes it hard for people who really want to do good business the right way.

  • Katherine

    Feel sorry and sad for this lady. I hope she can have something back at least. But really, just can’t trust anybody these days… even some of the family members and friends. People can be really greedy and mean today.

  • Alan Foos

    Happens all the time.

  • Albert Alberto


  • ellen

    Feel sorry for Mrs. Yobbagy. What is is that Zina Martin face look like?, so we will recongnize her, make sure she wont do it again to other victims, after getting out of jail.

  • Uncle Sam



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