A Desperate Scam Victim – Ann Mayers – Becomes A Bank Robber

Ann Mayers, a Scam Victim lost her life savings and borrowed over $80,000 which she still owed. Out of Desperation, she decided to become a Bank Robber

However, the story is not as simple as it seems due to the trauma and cognitive impairment victims suffer from

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions WLWT5 News and other sources

About This Article

Ann Mayers, a 74-year-old Ohio woman, turned to bank robbery in desperation after falling victim to an online scam.

Police responded to a robbery at AurGroup Credit Union, where Mayers demanded cash at gunpoint. She was later found at her home and confessed to the crime, admitting recent financial losses to an unidentified online scammer. Mayers faces charges of aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence, highlighting the tragic consequences of online scams.

Such scams often leave victims traumatized, affecting their cognitive function and decision-making abilities. Victims may experience cognitive dissonance, struggling to reconcile reality with their desire to believe in the legitimacy of the scam.

Trauma triggers the brain’s emotional center, impairing executive functions like decision-making. Without professional support, these effects can persist, leading to prolonged vulnerability and potential legal consequences, as seen in Mayers’ case. Understanding the psychological impact of scams is critical for supporting victims and preventing further exploitation.

A Scam Victim's Story - on SCARS ScamsNOW.com - BANNER

A Note About Labeling!

We often use the term ‘scam victim’ in our articles, but this is a convenience to help those searching for information in search engines like Google. It is just a convenience and has no deeper meaning. If you have come through such an experience, YOU are a Survivor! It was not your fault. You are not alone! Axios!

A Tragic Story of a Scam Victim that Became so Desperate that She Turned to Bank Robbery! A Story of a Scam Victim Turned into a Criminal

Scam Victims often lose their life savings to relationship scammers – whether it is a romance scam, a crypto investment scam, or another type of scam, the criminals involved in scams and fraud are so expert in their grooming, manipulation, and control of scam victims, that the victims become psychologically enslaved by the criminals and will do whatever is asked of them. However, unfortunately, this can leave them penniless after the scam is over.

After a scam is discovered it is very common for victims to be in distress, desperate, and traumatized. But as this case shows, the trauma from the scam can negatively affect a victim’s cognition and decision-making in profound ways.

That is what this case appears to be.

Local Police Statement

Left Open Quote - on ScamsNOW.comOn April 19, 2024, at 1:29 PM, Fairfield Township Police responded to AurGroup Credit Union located at 3085 Creekside Drive, Fairfield Township, [Ohio,] for a bank robbery. Credit Union employees reported that a white female suspect entered the credit union and demanded money while displaying a handgun.

Fairfield Township Police detectives and officers identified a 74-year-old white female, ANN MAYERS, as the suspect. Officers located MAYERS at her house in the 1200-block of Parrish Avenue, Hamilton, Ohio, along with the 2014 silver Hyundai Elantra she was driving during the robbery.

MAYERS admitted to the crime and police took her into custody without incident. Detectives recovered evidence including a handgun from MAYERS’ car.

MAYERS does not have any known criminal history at this time. Detectives charged her with Aggravated Robbery with a Firearm, a felony of the first degree, and Tampering with Evidence, a felony of the third degree. MAYERS remains incarcerated in the Butler County Jail pending her first court appearance.

The Bank Robbery – According to the New York Post:

Trigger Warning, this report is highly judgmental and blaming of the victim.

Left Open Quote - on ScamsNOW.comElderly internet scam victim accused of robbing Ohio bank with gun as a ‘remedy for her situation’

An elderly Ohio woman apparently got so desperate for cash after being duped by an online financial scammer, she robbed a bank with a handgun, according to police.

Ann Mayers, 74, of Hamilton Ohio is accused of flashing the weapon and demanding cash at the AurGroup Credit Union in Fairfield Township on April 19, the town’s police department said in a Facebook post from April 19.

Surveillance footage allegedly shows her strolling into the bank while wearing a face mask and carrying a blue bag.

The aging stick-up kid allegedly then hopped in a 2014 silver Hyundai Elantra with a stripped license plate and drove away, cops said in the post.

Detectives later found a handgun in Mayers’ car and police say she admitted to the robbery.

When cops questioned Mayers’ family members about the crime, they claimed she had recently fallen victim to a scam to send money to an “unidentified individual,” Sgt. Brandon McCroskey told USA TODAY.

“In that aspect, some may see her as a ‘victim.’ Unfortunately, Ann chose to victimize several other people in the bank by robbing it with a firearm as a remedy for her situation,” McCroskey said in an email.

If true, “[It’s] very sad and unfortunate,” he wrote.

Still, Mayers “took the time to plan this robbery” by removing her “license plate from her car” and trying to peel off a bumper sticker to go undetected, he said.

“She also reportedly spoke to family members about robbing banks in the days leading up to the robbery but the family did not take her comments seriously,” McCroskey said.

Mayers, who has no previous criminal record, was charged with aggravated robbery with a firearm and tampering with evidence.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money she allegedly stole from the bank.

Mayers is currently behind bars at Butler County Jail.

One Tragedy Compounded with Another

According to Local News

74-year-old suspected bank robber recently lost thousands to online scammer, police say

A 74-year-old woman accused of robbing a bank in Ohio may have been strapped for cash. Police said Ann Mayers was armed as she demanded money at the bank.

Surveillance cameras captured the crime on Friday afternoon.

“The tellers in the bank, they were terrified. They saw the gun. They’re I’m sure scarred from this. It’s terrifying to be held up especially with a gun involved not knowing what the person’s intentions are,” said Brandon McCroskey, the Fairfield Township Police Sgt.

Mayers got away with $500. Police tracked her down within an hour and a half at her house in Hamilton.

Her motivation? Possibly desperation.

McCroskey said the woman had recently been scammed out of thousands of dollars from someone online. She also owed money to family and friends.

Police said before the bank heist she had no criminal history.

Mayers admitted to the crime, the police department said. While she had no known criminal history, Fairfield Township police Sgt. Brandon McCroskey told CBS News affiliate WKRC that she had recently been scammed out of thousands of dollars in an online scam and owed money to family and friends. McCroskey did not disclose the nature of the scam. McCrosky later told CBS News that Mayers’ sister “suspects” that Mayers was being scammed online, but said police have “not confirmed that.”

“I think she told me she stole a candy bar once, but other than that she’s never stolen anything. Said she doesn’t know why she did it, just out of desperation,” said McCroskey.

While some people might sympathize with the 74-year-old woman, McCroskey said she knew exactly what she was doing and had even talked about robbing a bank with her sister in the days before.

“I don’t think her sister really thought she was serious,” said McCroskey.

But she was so serious McCroskey said she tried to hide her identity by taking the license plate off her car and tried to remove a bumper sticker.

“So that suggests at least that she knew what she was gonna do and knew what she was doing was wrong,” said McCroskey.

When police arrested Mayers they found the money and the gun, which McCroskey said was loaded.

Mayers is in jail charged with aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

SCARS Case Analysis

By: Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. contact@AgainstScams.org

Left Open Quote - on ScamsNOW.comIn reviewing the available facts from this case, what is observed is consistent with scam victims who experienced the trauma of becoming victimized by professional expert organized criminals in financial fraud or scams.

If Ann Mayers’ scam follows the normal arc then she was expertly groomed, manipulated, and controlled by her criminals to give them everything she had. So much so that she then borrowed another $80,000 to give to them. This is the sign of a person who is psychologically enslaved by the professional criminals controlling her.

Scam victims often experience profound trauma as a result of their discovery and realization of the deception, which can have lasting effects on their cognitive function and decision-making abilities. The trauma inflicted by scams can be likened to that of other forms of psychological abuse or manipulation, leaving victims vulnerable to cognitive dissonance and significant impairment.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when individuals hold conflicting beliefs or attitudes, leading to discomfort and psychological tension – it is like a firestorm happening in their mind. With scam victims, this can manifest as an internal struggle between the reality of being deceived and the desire to believe in the legitimacy of the scammer or the promised outcome. Victims may rationalize their decisions to engage with the scam or continue sending money, despite evidence suggesting otherwise, in an attempt to alleviate this cognitive dissonance. However, this cognitive dissonance can remain after the scam is over, significantly affecting their moral compass and ability to make rational decisions.

Furthermore, the trauma experienced by scam victims can impair their cognitive function, affecting their ability to process information, understand risks to themselves and others, make rational decisions, and discern between right and wrong. This impairment may be exacerbated by feelings of shame, embarrassment, or self-blame, which can further cloud judgment and hinder critical thinking.

In terms of brain function, trauma activates the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, triggering the fight-or-flight response and flooding the brain with stress hormones like cortisol. This heightened state of arousal can impair the prefrontal cortex, that is responsible for executive functions such as decision-making, problem-solving, and impulse control. As a result, scam victims may struggle to weigh the consequences of their actions or anticipate future risks, leading to continued vulnerability to exploitation, and what an untraumatized person would consider extremely poor decision-making.

Without professional support, the effects of trauma and cognitive impairment can persist long after the scam has ended. Victims may continue to experience intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks, further exacerbating cognitive dissonance and impairing daily functioning. Moreover, untreated trauma can increase the risk of developing more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can compound the challenges of recovery and healing.

Unlike a normal healthy mind, victims suffering from trauma may appear outwardly normal and fully functional, but in their mind they may be unable to fully refrain from or grasp the significance of their actions as they engage in them. Yet after the fact they are remorseful and aware of what they did.

In our opinion, this is a textbook example of diminished capacity (incorrectly labeled ‘temporary insanity’.)

Most scam victims experience profound trauma that affects their cognitive functions and decision-making abilities, leading to cognitive dissonance, impairment, and other disorders. Understanding the psychological mechanisms at work in the mind of a scam victim and providing appropriate support and intervention are essential for helping victims recover and regain control over their lives. Without professional support, the effects of trauma may persist indefinitely, perpetuating the cycle of vulnerability and exploitation.

We can only hope that Ann Amyers is properly and competently defended by attorneys that understand her situation and cognitive limitations resulting from her trauma.

News Videos of Ann Mayers’ Case

Important Information for New Scam Victims

If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit counseling.AgainstScams.org or join SCARS for our counseling/therapy benefit: membership.AgainstScams.org

If you need to speak with someone now, you can dial 988 or find phone numbers for crisis hotlines all around the world here: www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

Statement About Victim Blaming

Some of our articles discuss various aspects of victims. This is both about better understanding victims (the science of victimology) and their behaviors and psychology. This helps us to educate victims/survivors about why these crimes happened and to not blame themselves, better develop recovery programs, and to help victims avoid scams in the future. At times this may sound like blaming the victim, but it does not blame scam victims, we are simply explaining the hows and whys of the experience victims have.

These articles, about the Psychology of Scams or Victim Psychology – meaning that all humans have psychological or cognitive characteristics in common that can either be exploited or work against us – help us all to understand the unique challenges victims face before, during, and after scams, fraud, or cybercrimes. These sometimes talk about some of the vulnerabilities the scammers exploit. Victims rarely have control of them or are even aware of them, until something like a scam happens and then they can learn how their mind works and how to overcome these mechanisms.

Articles like these help victims and others understand these processes and how to help prevent them from being exploited again or to help them recover more easily by understanding their post-scam behaviors. Learn more about the Psychology of Scams at www.ScamPsychology.org

SCARS Resources:

Psychology Disclaimer:

All articles about psychology and the human brain on this website are for information & education only

The information provided in this and other SCARS articles are intended for educational and self-help purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional therapy or counseling.

Note about Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices have the potential to create psychological distress for some individuals. Please consult a mental health professional or experienced meditation instructor for guidance should you encounter difficulties.

While any self-help techniques outlined herein may be beneficial for scam victims seeking to recover from their experience and move towards recovery, it is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before initiating any course of action. Each individual’s experience and needs are unique, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Additionally, any approach may not be appropriate for individuals with certain pre-existing mental health conditions or trauma histories. It is advisable to seek guidance from a licensed therapist or counselor who can provide personalized support, guidance, and treatment tailored to your specific needs.

If you are experiencing significant distress or emotional difficulties related to a scam or other traumatic event, please consult your doctor or mental health provider for appropriate care and support.

If you are in crisis, feeling desperate, or in despair please call 988 or your local crisis hotline.

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

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