Detectives ID suspected scam artist
HOUSTON We first told you about the woman on Eyewitness News at 6pm Tuesday and showed you a surveillance picture of her. Since our story first aired, tips poured in from other potential victims. Now, we have new information about the scam and more on the woman. Her identity may no longer be a mystery. Investigators say they know who she is. They tell us she has ties to a group of gypsies who are notorious for being career criminals. Now it's just a matter of tracking her down. Relatives of an 82-year-old man we are identifying as Donald say all he ever wanted was to help people. "He took care of me, my mom, my aunt, my grandma," his granddaughter Elizabeth said. "He would do anything for anybody." He even helped strangers, like the suspect, who called herself Lisa Mitchell. She befriended him about two years ago, not long after his wife had died. Donald's daughter says her dad was lonely, and Mitchell used that to her advantage and took him for over $50,000. He became gravely ill and passed away last month. "She messed with the wrong people," Donald's daughter Leah, said. "Me, my sister and my niece -- we've made this a priority -- to go after her." What's more, fraud investigators say she's the same woman featured in our Crime Tracker Alert who scammed another wealthy, elderly man out of more than $250,000 dollars. The family contacted us right after our first story aired. The ordeal has taken a huge toll on his family. "Anxiety attacks. Really bad that I've never had in my life," his other daughter Lisa said. Donald's daughters say after Mitchell schemed her way into their father's life, she talked him into buying her a $40,000 Toyota Tundra, $6,000 worth of new furniture and another $6,000 in dental work. His generosity nearly cost him his home. "I was outraged," Leah said. "I was outraged that they are going around doing this and taking advantage of people who work all their lives." Donald kept his relationship with Mitchell a secret until December of last year -- four months before he died. They say he came clean when he realized he'd been conned. All they want now is justice. "I want her put away for the rest of her life," Leah said. "She has no business being on the streets." They believe Mitchell may now be living in the Tomball area. Donald's relatives also discovered the various aliases Mitchell has been using are actually the names of her relatives who live out of state. To this day, his daughters have no idea how she picked their father. As we told you, investigators think there are other victims of the scam. If you know anything that could help find her, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.