Winkler attorney says shooting stemmed from check scam - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Winkler attorney says shooting stemmed from check scam

For the first time Wednesday, Mary Winkler's attorney revealed her preacher husband was caught up in an overseas check scam that prosecutors said was the motive for his murder.
 
Last Friday in court, defense attorneys for Mary Winkler revealed that she and her husband had argued about a check scam she had fallen victim to.
  
Wednesday, defense attorney Steve Farese said Mary wasn't the only victim.  According to Farese, the Winklers started getting letters from Nigeria and Canada in December.  The Winklers thought they had won something.

"It’s my understanding they were entering sweepstakes contests, and they entered a lot of them, as a lot of people do," Farese said. "This came through the mail probably in Mary's name, but in that family nothing went on without the husband knowing it."

Farese said the couple did not know it was a scam.

"When people are in financial difficulties or living hand to mouth, and they get what they believe is a windfall, they tend to believe it,” he said. “That's why the scam is so effective with people like that."

Prosecutors say Mary Winkler deposited two checks totaling $17,500, that turned out to be fraudulent, in the family's bank account.  Then, according to Farese, she wrote checks from that account to a private account in her name, and withdrew the money from ATM's before the checks cleared.

Farese says Matthew Winkler was shot to death after the couple had been bickering about money.  He said that is something that has happened before in similar cases.

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