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Gypsy Family Honors Dead Woman With Flowers in Shape of Credit Card

November 24, 1988

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ A woman who died while a fugitive on credit card charges was honored at her funeral with a large floral arrangement in the shape of an American Express Gold Card.

Delores Ranko’s name was on the card, and the expiration date was ″never.″

Ms. Ranko, a member of a self-described gypsy family, was in the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville last June awaiting trial on theft charges when a judge released her on a personal bond for cancer treatment.

She got into a taxicab outside the jail June 6 and was never seen again. Ms. Ranko, 46, who also used the names Delores Walker, Delores Mangine, Delores Poplis, Maria Ranko and Mary Laser, eluded authorities until she died four months later in Atlanta.

″Why they chose a credit card, I’ll never know,″ said Richard Clark, funeral director of Vista Funeral Home in Hialeah, Fla., where the funeral was held. But it may have been a fitting sendoff from a family that police say swindled banks, credit card companies and insurance companies out of more than $200,000.

The 40-member family used false documents to defraud businesses in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and Louisiana in addition to Maryland, authorities said.

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