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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    New London couple who lost life savings hopeful for arrest

    Josephine "Josie" Manley, 80, of New London, was the victim of a recent cyber scam and wants others to be on guard. (Greg Smith/ The Day)

    Josephine “Josie” Manley and Dana Norman have spent weeks trying to rebuild their lives, dealing with the fallout from a cyberscam that drained the New London couple’s savings account of $14,000.

    Manley, an 80-year-old British national seeking U.S. citizenship but now without the necessary funds to do so, said the crime has taken an emotional and mental toll.

    Because Manley’s laptop was hacked and important personal information stolen, the couple is saddled with the effort of changing bank accounts and passwords ― anything that was exposed when a criminal accessed Manley’s computer.

    “It’s not just about the money,” Manley said. “It’s everything else that was done to you, the trauma.”

    Manley’s laptop was hacked in January, and she received a call purportedly from a Microsoft support representative. It led to a series of events that allowed criminals to access personal banking data. On Jan. 19, Norman followed instructions from a convincing fraudster claiming to be an FBI agent and handed over the entirety of the couple’s savings account for safekeeping.

    New London police continue to investigate the theft, and Manley said there is a glimmer of hope for justice. While browsing her old laptop ― her newer one is still in police custody as evidence ― she came upon a story about an arrest by the Fairfield Police Department. The details behind the Feb. 6 arrest sounded familiar.

    A victim received an email purportedly from a “Geek Squad” representative reporting a false $525 charge. To dispute the charge, the victim called a phone number provided and unsuspectingly provided bank account information and remote access to her computer, under the false pretense of receiving a refund, police said. The victim was coerced into withdrawing $20,000 to pay back a mistaken $25,000 refund.

    The victim in the Fairfield case was supposed to hand the money over to someone who would show up at their house. Instead, police set up surveillance and arrested 27-year-old Bin Sun of Brooklyn, N.Y., and charged him with attempted first-degree larceny.

    While reading the story, Manley said she spun her laptop around to show her husband a photo of the man who was arrested.

    “That’s him,” Norman confirmed after looking at the photo.

    Police are examining video surveillance footage from the neighborhood to confirm the man’s identity. Sun had not been charged in the New London case as of Friday, and police did not provide an update about the investigation.

    While Manley and Norman wait for an arrest, friends have stepped up to try to help.

    A Gofundme account was set up to aid the couple in recouping some of the lost funds. In her online post, Gofundme organizer Kimberly Leece said the fundraiser is an attempt to help the couple realize their dreams and “help them move forward from this disaster.”

    “They are good people that fell victim to bad people, and are working hard to promote awareness so that other people are not scammed,” Leece said in the online post.

    Manley said it is expensive to obtain citizenship in the U.S. and her plans, among other plans she and Norman had, are now on hold because of the loss.

    The Gofundme fundraiser for Josephine Manley and Dana Norman is at https://shorturl.at/fkyBL

    g.smith@theday.com

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