LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — Two drug addicts targeted what they thought were naive college students in an attempt to scam them out of money to feed their addictions, prosecutors said in court Thursday.
Herbert Imbimbo and Jillian Walkowicz were scheduled to be arraigned on charges connected to the scam that netted $400. Although Imbimbo was held on $3,000 after pleading not guilty to conspiracy charges, Walkowicz failed to show up and an arrest warrant was issued.
Walkowicz approached students on the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus earlier this year and told them a sob story about how she needed $200 to rent a room so she and her two children could leave her abusive husband, prosecutors said.
The Sun of Lowell (http://bit.ly/18Wt7XD ) reports that she asked students to take a $200 check made out to her on Imbimbo's account, then walked with the student to an ATM and exchanged the check for cash, according to authorities.
The checks, written on a closed account, bounced. Two students were tricked.
When police spoke to Walkowicz she allegedly told them she used the scam to feed a $60 to $80 per day heroin habit, targeting students because she thought they were more gullible, police said.
Imbimbo, a disabled Army veteran, denies any knowledge of the scam, his lawyer, Roland Milliard said. He also noted that Imbimbo, although he accepted money from Walkowicz, reported the checks as stolen and that the writing on the checks did not match his client's handwriting.
Information from: The (Lowell, Mass.) Sun, http://www.lowellsun.com