Woman arrested for allegedly scamming senior citizen out of thousands

Image Credit: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A woman was arrested after she allegedly scammed a 91-year-old east Nashville woman out of $3,000 for a roofing job that never happened.

Jessica Burton, 29, was taken into custody Tuesday night and charged with theft of property.

Burton and an unknown male suspect reportedly convinced Mary Ballinger she owed them money for work they said they had done on her roof. However, police say they didn’t do any work for the victim.

Photo Credit: WKRN
Mary Ballinger. Photo Credit: WKRN.

According to Metro fraud detectives, Burton cashed a $2,800 check at a Madison bank. According to an affidavit, when the clerk questioned Burton about the validity of the check, she told the clerk the money was from her grandmother to help pay for school.

Mary Ballinger told WAVY sister station WKRN News 2 she is too trusting of people.

“Well, they said they did some work and I believed it,” she said. “I believe people. I don’t think people tell you lies, but they do.”

Ballinger said she now wants to warn other senior citizens and hopes they will be on-guard.

After our original story aired, News 2 viewers Jake and Leslie Griner did something wonderful, writing a heartfelt letter and check to the woman in care of our newsroom.

The check from the mother and son was for $200.

“It broke my heart that someone would take advantage of this sweet woman especially at her age,” said Leslie Griner. “She had so much grace and courage to come on TV and warn other people.”

On the memo line of the check sent to News 2, they simply wrote: “gift of love. No conditions, no expectations, we just wanted to show her there are people out there who could love you.”

“My goodness, how nice, that’s wonderful, wonderful people,” said Ballinger.

Burton was arrested for a similar crime a few months ago, charged with cashing a 78-year-old woman’s check for $6,500 for driveway work never performed.

The metro affidavit said, “the defendant is involved in a ring/family of scamming elderly on driveways, roofs, etc.”

Burton was booked into the Metro jail and charged with theft of property. Her bond was set at $50,000.

Her male accomplice is still at large.