AUBURN, Maine (CBS Local) — A 95-year-old woman who lost her life savings to a con artist got it all back, and then some, when hundreds of people attended a fundraiser hosted by her state’s former governor.
Barbara Hinckley of Auburn, Maine, was tricked into sending at least $16,000 to a scammer claiming to work at Publishers Clearing House in November. The scammer said she had won $2.5 million and new Mercedes.
Hinckley went public about the scam in hopes that it would deter other people from falling prey to the same scheme.
— Sun Journal (@sunjournal) January 10, 2020
“Stealing from the elderly is not the Maine Way,” former Maine Gov. John Baldacci, who served from 2003 to 2011, told the Bangor Daily News. “Let’s turn something bad into something positive by showing the world our true Maine character.”
Baldacci, whose family ran an Italian restaurant in Bangor for years, organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Hinckley at the Auburn Middle School last week, with all proceeds going directly to Hinckley.
Approximately 400 people attended the fundraiser, including current Gov. Janet Mills, raising a whopping $18,000.
Barbara Hinckley lost her life savings to a con man last year. Tonight, former Gov. Baldacci hosted a fundraising dinner to help and showed, true to our character, that when one of our neighbors is down, we will always lift them up. This is exactly why I love our state. pic.twitter.com/GWWzPNspBB
— Governor Janet Mills (@GovJanetMills) January 8, 2020
“It’s just amazing to me to know how many people care,” Hinckley said. “I am writing handwritten thank you notes to anyone that I get anything from.”
Hinckley said she will no longer be allowed to spend any of her new life savings without first getting her family’s permission.