Los Gatos Weekly Times

Texas woman convicted of scamming S.J. couple in dog sale swindle

- By Jason Green jason.green@bayareanew­sgroup.com

SAN JOSE >> A Texas woman has been convicted of scamming a San Jose couple out of $2,000 for a Pomeranian puppy that never actually existed, prosecutor­s said.

Elizabeth Montes, 44, of San Antonio was convicted of felony conspiracy and theft March 14, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said in a news release May 10. She faces six months in county jail when she is sentenced Oct. 11.

Prosecutor­s said the DA'S Bureau of Investigat­ions Unit traced the origins of the scam to the Central African country of Cameroon.

Investigat­ors discovered that Montes opened accounts with Zelle — an online money transferri­ng service — through various banks and was receiving money from victims who purchased puppies through skylightpo­meranian.com and Trans-pet Express, prosecutor­s said.

Prosecutor­s said the victims never received the puppies, and bank records showed Montes linked to more than 75 victims.

In April 2020, the San Jose couple sent $600 through Zelle to buy “Jake,” a teacup-sized Pomeranian puppy listed for sale on skylightpo­meranian.com, prosecutor­s said.

Everything appeared normal in the contract and shipping informatio­n, prosecutor­s said, but the couple then received an email instructin­g them to send an additional $1,400 to the seller to avoid having the puppy held in a two-week COVID-19 quarantine.

When the couple received another email demanding an additional $1,300 for a permit, they realized they were being scammed and reported the crime, prosecutor­s said.

“Con artists all over the world are using love and loneliness during COVID to steal people's money,” District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement.

“We are finding the crooks. We are prosecutin­g the crooks. You pay for Jake, you get Jake.”

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