SALEM -- A Sherwood man was arrested Monday afternoon and accused of swindling his great uncle out of $60,000 with a ruse about the need for a lung transplant.
Nicholas Scholten, 27, was accused of first-degree aggravated theft by deception.
The great uncle gave him the money between May and August, according to Lt. Steve Birr. His story was so convincing, Birr said, that his plight was highlighted in a story in the local 'Sherwood Gazette.'
The ploy unraveled when U.S. Bank went to Salem police to report potential elder abuse.
When investigators contacted Scholten, he told them he had traveled to New York for a transplant. A followup to that meeting revealed that he never had the surgery, nor did he need one.
"I think it is tragic that someone would take advantage of a relative in this way," said Detective Mike Korcek. "They are so vulnerable because of their trust, as well as their desire to help out."