But more often than not, she ended the day no richer than she’d started.
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.
No matter how tired she got from helping Sinclair obtain his money, the prospect of hearing her fiancé’s adoring voice always managed to lift her heart.
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.
The 45-year-old divorcée and junior-college dropout now lived in Bluefield, West Virginia, a fading town near the Appalachian coalfields where she’d been raised.
In addition to collecting 4 in unemployment benefits each week, Elrod made ends meet by hustling: She resold packages of discount toilet paper and peddled small quantities of prescription drugs.