A Panorama City woman accused of scamming elderly men into giving her thousands of dollars pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
Myrta Molina, 52, was charged with Theft from an Elder by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Aug. 30.
Molina allegedly placed five personal ads in a senior citizen newsletter, seeking relationships with men over the age of 65.
She was accused of using a fictitious name in the newsletter, which is circulated widely throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.
One of the alleged victims, an 81-year-old man who suffers from dementia, contacted Molina in January, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Molina led the man to believe she was in love with him, and then began asking for — and receiving — cash, according to the sheriff’s department.
The man’s daughter was contacted in July after he tried to withdraw $80,000 in cash at a bank in Lakewood.
Bank employees, sensing something was wrong, refused to give the cash and notified his daughter.
The daughter then discovered that $26,000 had been withdrawn in the first six months of 2013, a sheriff’s department news release stated.
Detectives then searched Molina’s apartment and found $5.3 million in cash, according to the release.
Investigators said they also uncovered information that numerous elderly men had been targeted during the past two years.
Molina was being held on $150,000 bail.
Her next court date was scheduled for Dec. 11.