#MindOfMarlar is written by Darren Marlar, host of Weird Darkness

“Forget the brains… we crave financial help!”

I’m sure most of us will agree that the economy is faltering. You could possibly describe it as being ill, or even on its deathbed. But if you plan on getting a loan from a financial institution – you still need to be alive yourself. That’s just good business practice for a bank.

But that didn’t stop Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes from trying to pull a Weekend at Bernie’s on April 16, 2024. She somehow hoped to fool the bank’s loan officer into giving her dead uncle, Paulo Roberto Braga, a loan of about $3,200. The problem is that she chose NOT to tell the loan officer that her Uncle Paulo was… dead. Nope. She just rolled him in with a wheelchair (and I’m assuming sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt, and possibly an umbrella drink) and pretended that he was shy and didn’t like to talk much. (Oh, if only LIVING relatives existed like that!) And Uncle Paulo was probably lazy too, because Erika had to keep holding up his head with her hands during the loan application process.

Not a photo of Larry, but impressive nonetheless.

If Paulo was a young man we might say he was still hung over from a “totally-awesome-dude” Spring Break… but at 68 years old, that theory would be hard to swallow. Except for my neighbor Larry who comes home from New Orleans every year after Mardi Gras weighed down with hundreds of beaded necklaces. He never tells us how he earns those, or why he always packs a halter top.

Not surprisingly, one of the bank tellers told Erika, “I don’t think your Uncle is feeling well” – but she continued to claim her uncle was juuuust fine. Also not surprising, after several minutes of this, bank staff called emergency response for somebody who obviously needed medical help more than he needed monetary help.

Personally, at this point I would’ve taken the hint that the jig was up, and shot out of there like a cartoon lion quipping “Exit, stage left” – leaving my expired uncle behind for the bank janitor to take care of.

The exact moment Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes realized she should’ve applied for the loan in her own name instead. (Photo: TMZ)

Somehow, though, this did not slow Erika’s plan down one little bit; she continued on with her charade, talking to the man’s corpse, saying things like “Uncle… I can’t sign for you… sign here… sign so you don’t give me any more headaches. Uncle, you need to sign. If you don’t sign it, there’s no way.” How she planned on believably getting a cadaver to sign a legal document is beyond me, but she was certainly trying to convince him.

You gotta give Erika some credit though – she was unshakeable even as paramedics and police arrived, insisting the whole time that her past-the-expiration-date-uncle was perfectly fine, he’s just a quiet man!

Erika undoubtedly watched “Weekend at Bernie’s” – possibly the sequel, for educational purposes – but she has obviously never seen an episode of “NCIS”, “E.R.”, or even “Scrubs” to know that there are tiny clues trained medical professional can check to see if someone is still among the living. Like breathing… and a pulse… and whether or not the person is in rigamortis. I’ve never been to medical school though, so don’t quote me on those facts. As it turns out though, the paramedics did discover that poor Uncle Paulo was not only dead – but had departed several hours earlier – well before Erika wheeled him into the bank. Probably well before she tried to stuff him into the car. How’s that for tenacious!

“Should I maybe poke her with a stick?”

No amount of pleading ignorance at this point is going to help you, Erika. She was arrested and accused of disrespecting a corpse and trying to trick the bank. Maybe she can be assigned to the prison morgue so she can learn how to tell if someone is still alive or not.

Now, you’d think that would be the end of it – but Erika’s lawyer later said the story was incorrect, and that Paulo was in reality still alive when they arrived at the bank; he just died while they were waiting for the loan to be approved. Granted, waiting for a loan, or in line at the DMV, or for the cable guy to show up between 10am and 5pm “guaranteed”… can make you wish for death. But if you want the truth about being un-alive, do you really want the medical opinion of a criminal defendant’s lawyer instead of, you know, the paramedics who have training to know if somebody has kicked the bucket? I’m sure there’s a lawyer joke in there somewhere about lawyers not having a heart so they won’t understand the need for someone to have a heartbeat… but I won’t go there.

And if things couldn’t get any more bizarre, police later found out one more little factoid. It turn out Erika was in actuality not really the one taking care of Uncle Paulo at all… because she was not really his niece. She was only barely a distant relative. Much like I’m related to Bill Clinton because my great-grandmother and his grandmother were sisters… so I’m told.

I’m going to take a stab in the dark here and say Erika was not included in Uncle Paulo’s last will and testament. In fact, with a personality like hers, Paulo might’ve even declared Erika was dead to him.


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