By Alexander Dworkowitz
For three years, Nancy Jace of Fresh Meadows told elderly men she befriended that the recent death of her parents and her sisters costly surgery had left her strapped for cash, a story that won her sympathy and financial help, authorities said.
But Jace, 36, was not teetering on the edge of poverty, but living the high life with her expensive jewelry, a Mercedes, a Jaguar and a stash of $40,000, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Last week, Jace was indicted on charges of stealing more than $259,000 from five men aged 76 to 94 living in Queens, Brown said.
The defendant preyed upon elderly males in Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows and Flushing, fed them tall tales of anguish and woe and promises of romance and then asked them to help her by giving her money, Brown said in a news release. Her cruel and manipulative stories took advantage of the gullibility of lonely old men.
Jace, a Romanian immigrant, was charged with grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of a forged instrument, authorities said. She faces 15 years in prison if convicted, authorities said.
Jace, a resident of 77-12 169th St., had many aliases, including Tina Rosa, Tina Lee, Sunshine Jace and Tina Ross, the district attorney said.
Jace met the five men at supermarkets, department stores and hospitals, authorities said.
Her attorney, Anthony Lombardino, could not be reached for comment.
While the details of her personal story varied, she told the men that her parents had recently died and her sister was seriously ill, and she was in need of money to pay for the necessary procedures, the district attorney said.
It was a sweetheart scam, a law enforcement source said. After meeting them, she would quickly tell them she was in love with them and not to break her heart.
The men called Jace, who is married with five children, their girlfriend, and she even became engaged to one of them, the source said, although investigators do not believe Jace had sexual relations with any of the men.
In what Brown called the most egregious case, Jace, who claimed to be a seamstress, scammed a frail 86-year-old Forest Hills man, authorities said.
Jace and a woman she called her sister met with the man on a daily basis over a seventh-month period, the district attorney said.
Telling him she needed money for both an operation and a computerized sewing machine, Jace convinced him to write her several checks totaling $214,000, authorities said.
Jace was arrested in front of one of her victims homes on May 9, the district attorney said.
On May 22, detectives executed a search warrant at Jaces home and seized expensive jewelry, a Mercedes, a Jaguar XJS and a Jeep Grand Cherokee with stolen or mismatched license plates, about $40,000 in cash and seven forged Arkansas drivers licenses, the district attorney said.
Authorities began looking into Jace when one of her victims tipped them off about her actions, the district attorney said.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
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