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.
As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.
was in rough financial shape as the 2012 holiday season drew near.
She’d been out of work for a year, ever since quitting her longtime clerical job at the county public health department in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As soon as Elrod would exit First Community with a bundle of and 0 bills in her purse, she’d hang a right and walk across the parking lot to Ridgeview Plaza, a vast and featureless shopping mall surrounded by scraggly woods.
She would pass by the drive-through tobacco outlet, the Dollar Tree, and Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders en route to the mall’s centerpiece, a typically gargantuan Walmart.