Hearing postponed in scam-artist case

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 wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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