Woman uses ‘romance scam’ to steal nearly $34K from word game app player, police say

Carla Ann Whaley faces one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of financing a criminal...
Carla Ann Whaley faces one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of financing a criminal syndicate.(MCSO)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 9:54 AM AKDT
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GILBERT, Ariz. (Arizona’s Family/Gray News) - Police said a “romance scam” cost a woman nearly $34,000, and an Arizona woman is facing fraud charges as a result.

Arizona’s Family reports officers arrested 70-year-old Carla Ann Whaley at her home in Gilbert Monday afternoon.

Court documents state the victim told police in late November she believed she was talking to a man named “Garth Davis” while playing the app-based game Words With Friends.

The victim told officers she was lonely after her husband had died earlier that year. She told police she began talking with “Garth” in March 2021 on Google Hangouts and started sending him cash cards and gift cards when he told her he was having trouble accessing his bank account.

When she broke her foot and couldn’t leave her home to go to the store and buy the cards, “Garth” told her to start sending money to Whaley, who he said was his friend.

The woman sent Whaley $20,000 in cash and $3,000 through CashApp until July. The woman grew suspicious and called the police shortly afterward, and officers went to Whaley’s home to speak with her.

Court records indicate Whaley told police she was helping a friend move money but did not tell officers who the friend was.

Police found the victim had lost a total of almost $34,000.

In late December, Whaley was taken to the Gilbert police station for more questioning. Court documents state Whaley told police she “wasn’t entirely truthful” the first time she spoke with police and admitted receiving $20,000 in cash from the woman.

Police searched Whaley’s CashApp account and saw that the money she had within the app was being exchanged for cryptocurrency and then exchanged for cash.

Whaley transferred just over $10,000 from CashApp to her credit union account from July to August.

Police said “Garth Davis” is an unknown suspect.

Whaley was booked into jail on Monday and faces one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of financing a criminal syndicate.

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