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Fayette resident was talked into sending 'insurance' payments repeatedly

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County man who answered a newspaper ad to obtain a personal loan lost nearly $1,700 in a scam, state police said.

The 59-year-old man from Springhill Township responded to an ad around Jan. 20 to obtain a personal loan from Mayfair Direct Lenders, Trooper Timothy Kirsch of the Uniontown barracks said.

The man contacted Mayfair by phone and was told he qualified for a personal loan of $25,000. The company appeared to have a legitimate website, so the man filled out paperwork and faxed it to Mayfair, Kirsch said.

All the paperwork indicated Mayfair was located in Oakland Park, Fla.

The man was told he would need to pay a “loan insurance fee” of $590 to get the loan. Mayfair officials told him to wire $300 to a man named Hamilton Nicholson in Ontario, Canada.

They would then place the $25,000 in his bank account, and he would be responsible for sending the additional $290 for insurance.

After sending the $300, the man never received a loan payment. He contacted Mayfair, who told him that the “lender” was requiring an additional $300 to cover the entire insurance payment, Kirsch said.

The alleged victim sent that money as well but never received the $25,000, Kirsch said.

After he was told he still owed more money for insurance, the man sent another $600 and then another $450 to the man in Canada, Kirsch said.

Finally, after a Mayfair employee said he must send another $500, the man refused and said he wanted his money back.

Mayfair officials told him they would refund his money in four to six weeks, though he hasn't seen any of the $1,650 he sent to Canada, Kirsch said.

“It is highly unlikely the victim will be getting his money back,” Kirsch said in a news release. “The state police have attempted to make contact with Mayfair, but Mayfair refuses to answer any questions and hangs up the phone.”

Kirsch said the victim went to his bank, closed all of his accounts and opened new ones.

Kirsch believes the Mayfair website is a smokescreen to give the appearance of a legitimate company.

The alleged victim could not be reached for comment.

Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com.

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