Charges dropped against 82-year-old accused in fraud scheme

Charges dropped against 82-year-old accused in fraud scheme
(Source: Bill Oxford)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A Virginia judge has dismissed felony charges against an 82-year-old preacher accused of defrauding a woman of more than $50,000 in a fake sweepstakes scheme.

Powhatan prosecutor Robert Cerullo says the four counts of obtaining money under false pretenses against Frederick Shmidt were dropped after medical evaluations indicated he had developed dementia.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the victim in the case was told she won a $2.5 million cash prize and sent money for fees to Shmidt.

He was accused of then taking some before passing the earnings on to others in Jamaica.

Authorities allege he also defrauded residents in Kansas, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)