Okeechobee County deputies say there's a new scam circulating in the community called the "prayer scam."
In this particular scam, the suspects approach and befriend the victim, usually a person of Hispanic descent, the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office said. The suspects then convince the victim they will pray over their money and their family.
The victim follows the suspects to their home, according to the sheriff's office. They convince the victim to give them money and they wrap the money in a red cloth and prayed over it. The suspects then told the victim not to unwrap the money for 24 hours or the prayer wouldn't be answered.
The suspects persuaded the victim that she needed to give them more money to pray over, the sheriff's office said. The victim let the suspect follow her to her house and she handed over another $7,000 to pray over. The victim later discovered the money was gone.
The victim contacted the sheriff’s office and deputies determined the case originated at WalMart and the Okeechobee City Police Department took over the investigation, according to the sheriff's office. The victim was able to identify the two female suspects, who were later arrested and charged.
“As we enter into our Christmas season always remember there are people that invest all their efforts into taking advantage of innocent people," Sheriff Noel E. Stephen said. "Please be aware and remain vigilant to not fall prey to these thieves. Any legitimate person or organization should not be bothered nor afraid for you to ask questions and check their legitimacy. If you ever have a question or concern, contact the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office or Okeechobee City Police Department immediately."