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Elko woman awaiting trial faces new charges in custody scam

December 19, 2019 GMT

A Nevada woman awaiting trial on charges that she tried to sell part of a coffee shop she didn’t own has been arrested for allegedly bilking a friend out of $100,000 in a child custody scam, prosecutors said.

Ermelinda Carrillo, 30, of Elko is accused of theft by misrepresentation and obtaining money or property by false pretenses, according to a complaint filed by the Elko County district attorney’s office.

She was booked into the county jail on Dec. 15 where bail was set at $40,000, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.

The victim told police Carrillo offered to help him find an attorney to get custody of his child, and took $108,962 from him in 2017 and 2018, prosecutors said.

Carrillo told the man she hired lawyers, investigators and a social worker to work on the case on his behalf and needed money to pay them and cover expenses, according to court documents.

He told police he took out loans and borrowed from his family to pay Carrillo. He said he earlier had loaned her money and purchased appliances and a storage shed for her.

According to the police report, Carrillo eventually told the man the attorneys were not successful in obtaining custody of his child, and that he was only granted partial custody.

It’s not clear if Carrillo has her own lawyer or has been appointed one to represent her. The Elko County public defender’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The Daily Free Press reported the victim spoke with police after learning about Carrillo’s arrest July 18, 2018, for felony theft by misrepresentation. At the time, she was accused of taking about $52,700 from neighbors in exchange for her half ownership in Cool Beans even though it was fully owned by another woman.

Carrillo pleading not guilty to that charge in December 2018. Her trial in that case is pending in Elko District Court.