She discovered that message in March 2011, 20 months before opening her First Community account, while cleaning out her junk-strewn “Other” mailbox during a respite at a Charlotte mall.The missive caught her eye because of the sender’s handsome profile photo, which showed a middle-aged man with a ruddy face, strong black eyebrows, and a welcoming gaze.Elrod would spend the next few hours visiting other Bluefield establishments that offer Money Gram or Western Union services: the Advance America payday loan store, the Food City supermarket, the austere cash-for-titles joint located literally under Route 460.At each stop she’d wire another chunk of money to Sinclair.Elrod never let this money linger: She always showed up at the bank a few hours after a transfer cleared, to withdraw as much as ,500 in cash.She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty.
He said he had stumbled across her profile while searching for a college friend who shared her last name; he also noted that his own surname was actually Mc Gregor, not Gregor.
Despite her hand-to-mouth circumstances, Elrod’s new account soon began to receive a series of sizable wire transfers, many of which originated abroad.
Over the course of one December week, for example, almost ,000 arrived from Norway; on January 2, someone in France sent ,977.
Mc Gregor was also a tremendous listener who never hesitated to lend Elrod a sympathetic ear.
“He wasn’t like the little boys I was used to dealing with—he was the opposite of that, so sincere, so caring,” Elrod says.