Scam artist back in jail - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Scam artist back in jail


RAINELLE, WV (WVVA) - A convicted scam artist is back in jail after police say she's done it again. Now police are hoping more victims come forward.

Billy Jo Gwinn, 41, has recently been arrested for two counts of fraudulent schemes and for parole violation.

Lewisburg and Rainelle Police Departments say she's been scamming people for years.

WVVA spoke with Bob Ellison from Rainelle who says he was scammed by her back in June.

He says she told him, "Her daughter's boyfriend took all the money out of their bank account, threw the daughter and the grand baby out. They were on there way in from North Carolina to West Virginia and broke down in Lexington, Virginia on the side of the road."

Ellison says when he thought about this young girl and mom stranded on such a hot day, it really struck a chord with him, especially since he is a new grandfather.

He gave her all the cash he had, which was $90, and claims Gwinn promised to pay him back, but never did.

Rainelle Police Chief J.P. Stevens says she often preys on the elderly. "They're old timers and they believe in helping people so she knows she can prey on them."

Police say parking lot at the Rainelle Kroger is one of her favorite place to find victims. And apparently she's very convincing.

"She'd sat there and cried and moaned," Ellison described. "Her story was very believable."

Stevens says many people are too embarrassed to report being scammed.

Ellison says he felt the same way, but he wants to see justice. "People preying on older people and people with a heart, you know, they deserve to be put behind bars."

Billy Jo Gwinn would also go by Joanne or swap her last name to Bryant or Martin. Stevens says other stories she uses is having a child or relative in the hospital. If you believe you were scammed by Gwinn, call your local law enforcement or the Rainelle Police Department.

Stevens also wants people to be aware of other scams going on:

-Calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS and saying you owe money

-People promising to do a construction job, demand a down payment first and then never come back

-Black top scams where people offer to pave the victims driveway, use defective materials or change the price or size of the job

-Other people like Gwinn begging for money and claiming to have a sick relative

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