A state inmate and two women from Huntsville are facing charges for trying to bilk a Limestone County woman out of thousands of dollars.
Ronnie Rodriguez Coleman, 35, tried to scam the woman from behind bars at the Bibb Correctional Facility in Bibb County, according to the Limestone County Sheriff's Office. It's one of a series of scams the sheriff's office said they have seen in the last few months.
It started in October, when Coleman somehow discovered the woman had received a death benefit payment of $10,000 after her son died, authorities said. He then called the woman claiming to be a nephew of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, they said.
Coleman told the woman the insurance company had mistakenly deposited $20,000 in her account and needed $10,000 of the money back, authorities said. He told her two women would come to the home to collect the money.
That's when Constance Hammond and Letia Hammons, both 30, showed up at the home, authorities said.
Hammond and Hammons convinced the woman to follow them to a check cashing business to write a check, but the business refused to cash the check. A second attempt at the Athens Walmart also was unsuccessful, authorities said, and the two women left.
Coleman contacted the woman again and tried to get her to buy more than $2,500 in prepaid cell phones and phone cards at the Madison Walmart, but a cashier refused the purchase, according to the sheriff's office.
A Limestone County Sheriff's Office investigator who handled the case said Hammond and Hammons had purchased Green Dot cards for Coleman, who set up the scam. Coleman admitted it after an interview at the Bibb Correctional Facility, authorities said, and told the investigator several people in prison run similar scams.
Coleman has served 8 years of a 20-year sentence for manslaughter out of Madison County, according to prison records. He was denied parole earlier this month.
Hammond and Hammons were both charged with first-degree attempted exploitation of the elderly and criminal impersonation. They have both been released from the Limestone County Jail on bond.