Woman admits bilking WW II vet out of $2.6 million

By PATRICK MCNAMARA | The (Tuscon) Arizona Daily Star | Published: June 24, 2014

A woman accused of defrauding an elderly World War II veteran of more than $2.6 million confirmed everything police and prosecutors said about her crimes was true.

“I took advantage of that man,” a tearful Donna Iman said at a mitigation hearing Monday in Pima County Superior Court. “I got greedy.”

Iman pleaded guilty to fraudulent schemes and artifices in connection with defrauding 93-year-old Thomas Gerbing from 2010 to 2012.

Testifying before Pima County Superior Court Judge Teresa Godoy, Tucson Police Detective Nicole Greene said Iman, 47, met the victim through the church they attended.

As their friendship grew, Greene said, Iman began to play on Gerbing’s sympathies by claiming to suffer from numerous medical conditions.

Gerbing, a World War II veteran and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, was a widower for several years before meeting Iman. Greene said Iman began to profess the same health conditions that claimed Gerbing’s wife, including seizures and later pancreatic cancer.

Gerbing began giving Iman tens of thousands of dollars, believing she was having various medical procedures and surgeries. In addition, he gave her $4,000 per month to pay her bills after she convinced him she no longer could work because of debilitating medical conditions.

“What we discovered about what Donna was actually doing at this time in 2011 was that she traveled to Florida to see a NASCAR race, she had cosmetic surgery and bought some land she was going to build a house on at the base of Mount Lemmon,” Greene said.

Iman also bought cars for her children and many expensive home furnishings for the house, which was never built.

Police investigators tracked the requests for money to help pay for the supposed medical conditions through emails Iman and Gerbing exchanged. They also inspected Iman’s bank records, which showed numerous transfers of money from Gerbing’s account.

Iman’s medical records showed most of the conditions she told Gerbing she had were made up, with the exception of seizures.

Greene said Gerbing had fallen in love with Iman, even requesting she marry him.

But it was all an apparent ruse to defraud him of his hard-earned life savings, Greene said, as Iman not only did not marry Gerbing but instead married a different man in the midst of her scheme to live a life of luxury at Gerbing’s expense.

She has since divorced.

Iman is scheduled for sentencing Monday, June 30.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or  pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.

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