Woman cheated fellow churchgoers

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Woman cheated fellow churchgoers

A 64-year-old woman surnamed Jeon was arrested for reportedly borrowing a total of 400 million won ($340,000) from members of a church in an agricultural village in Icheon, Gyeonggi, over the course of three months and then running away, according to Icheon police Monday.

Jeon allegedly introduced herself using a false surname, Moon, and built trust within the community by taking part in church events and helping the members’ work at farms. She started asking for money from one of the members, who was also her neighbor, saying she lost her husband and needed living expenses for herself and her children, who she claimed live abroad. The neighbor did not hesitate to help Jeon, going so far as to take out a loan using his land as collateral and giving her roughly 80 million won in total. Jeon also borrowed 98 million won from the church pastor, who often used a credit card to help her. But she disappeared last month, by which point she had collected roughly 400 million won from eight church members.

A police investigation revealed that Jeon collected roughly 230 million won in Buan County, North Jeolla, from 2001 to 2003 using similar methods. Jeon was known there by the surname Lim. According to police, Jeon is originally from Wonju, Gangwon, where her registration was revoked in the 1980s after she disappeared. She has since used two identity cards belonging to other people, but was not detected as she did not use those aliases at administrative or medical organizations.

BY KIM MIN-WOOK [kim.yuna1@joongang.co.kr]

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