Business owner gives $10K to mother of 7 scammed out of home

GASTONIA, N.C. — A man gave a $10,000 check to a woman and her family who were scammed out of a home.

Tammy Patterson was told last week she had to move out of her dream home in the Autumn Ridge community in Gastonia.

“I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving,” said Brandon Johnson, owner of South Star Roofing.

“I saw the story and I saw her children and it just broke my heart,” he said Monday.

“I was surprised,” Patterson said. “I mean I knew there were good people in the world but for God to send me somebody like him, that was just a blessing.”

Patterson is looking forward to moving into a new house and buying furniture.

“That way we can actually have something,” she said.

The scam

Patterson, a mother of seven, lived in a shed in Lincolnton and spent about a year looking for an affordable home.

A con artist messaged her with pictures of a house for $1,000 a month.

“What was going through my mind was I’ve actually found a home for once,” she told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon.

Patterson said the man, who mostly communicated through text and emails, wanted the $1,000 up front in Apple gift cards.

She thought it was strange until he gave her a code to a lockbox with a key enclosed to a three-bedroom, two-and-half-bath home with a two-car garage.

She says he told her to keep the key and move in.

“I was, like OK, that’s real,” Patterson said.

Her husband and four children fell in love with the house.

“They were just so happy,” Patterson told Lemon.

Patterson’s 69-year-old mother, who was to live with them, recently had a stroke.

After sending the gift cards, the man asked for more money, Patterson said.

She sent the requested gift cards - but says he started asking for more.

“It was text after text, after text,” Patterson said.

So, she gave another $300 to the scammer and realized there was something wrong.

Patterson then discovered someone else owned the home.

The real owner wanted a deposit and market price, $2,400 upfront within 10 days, which Patterson does not have.

“What do I do?” she said. “Because I don’t know what to do. I have cried myself to sleep.”

Patterson gave Lemon the grifter’s number and Lemon called it.

“Could not complete your call. Please try again,” the message said.

It appeared the number was closed or canceled.

Patterson and her family have to be out by Black Friday.

Police are investigating.

Patterson wants to warn others struggling to find housing in a strapped market. She has a message for the man who ripped her off.

“What you did was wrong, especially taking from somebody that has kids and sick mother.”

Gastonia police said they had a handful of similar cases, but this is the first time they had a family move into the house.

Investigators said if the man who took their money is from outside the U.S., then the chances of finding him are next to impossible.

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