Sandra Anderson bought herself some more time on Friday.
The woman accused of using her good looks and persuasive sob story to scam an 80-year-old Northeast man out of $57,000 showed up in Municipal Court with a $1,000 restitution payment, bringing her total to about $9,000. In exchange for the installment, the court postponed her preliminary hearing.
Since July 2010, the hearing has been postponed 11 times, often with the consent of the district attorney’s office. Assistant District Attorney Tracie Gaydos said her office’s top priority is to get the victim’s money back. Anderson, 35, was scheduled to surrender another $4,000 on Tuesday and is to pay an additional $3,000 at her next court appearance on April 13.
In all, the victim has recouped about $40,000 of the $87,000 stolen from him by three co-conspirators including Anderson in late 2009 and early 2010. Tiffany Mitchell and her husband, George Wallace, paid their share of the alleged take, about $30,000. Charges against them have been dropped.
Mitchell, who was 21 at the time, first approached the victim, whose identity has been withheld, in September 2009 on the street near the Reading Terminal Market in Center City. She told him that she had seen him many times and asked to exchange telephone numbers, authorities claim.
The victim was reluctant at first, but eventually began meeting Mitchell for lunches and a dinner date. After a couple weeks, Mitchell told the victim she needed a kidney transplant and asked him for $25,000 to pay for it. The victim gave her the cash. A month or so later, he gave her another $5,000 purportedly to start a seamstress business and pay her rent. Wallace allegedly got involved in the latter setup when he posed as Mitchell’s landlord.
Mitchell, Wallace and Anderson all were living in the Rittenhouse Square area at the time, although police have described them as members of a traveling group of professional con artists.
Investigators believe that Anderson got the victim’s telephone number from Mitchell and Wallace. She allegedly called him, posed as an old acquaintance and convinced him to give her $57,000 for rent and to invest in a New York City piano bar.
The victim’s family leaned of the payments in February 2010 and alerted authorities. Investigators learned that Anderson had been convicted and sentenced to probation for using similar methods to scam an Upper Darby man out of $300,000 in 2005. She also agreed to pay restitution. It is unknown if she followed through on the agreement. ••
William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or firstname.lastname@example.org