Woman, 83, accused of stealing from people seeking legal help


As more and more victims come forward, prosecutors say they believe that 83-year-old woman used empty promises to dupe dozens of people out of about $100,000.

"The whole neighborhood was shocked, because she was a nice little old lady," said former neighbor Billy Bowdoin.

Folks on Torrey Pines Drive say for several weeks now the big buzz has been over the arrest of their 83-year-old former neighbor Dorothy Canfield.

Former neighbor Martha Fox recalled, "She made homemade cinnamon rolls and brought them over."

Neighbors are now learning the woman who loved sharing baked goods with them was just indicted on felony theft charges this week. Court documents allege Canfield stole tens of thousands of dollars from illegal immigrants who were trying to get permanent US visas.

Montgomery County Chief Prosecutor Rob Freyer said, "These people parted with their hard earned money. In exchange for that they got nothing."

Freyer told me Canfield was representing herself as a paralegal in the Willis area. Freyer says the woman promised people who were not in the country legally her assistance in filling out Homeland Security documents in exchange for cash. Canfield is accused of stringing her so-called clients along for months without any results.

Bowdoin said, "The people who arrested her said, 'Honey, she is not going to be out for a long, long time.""

Canfield does have an extensive criminal history involving numerous theft charges and prison time. She's now in jail again on a $500,000 bond. Investigators say they believe Canfield has more victims across this area.

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