News Column

Salisbury 'scam artist' sent to jail

May 30, 2014

By Dave Rogers, The Daily News of Newburyport, Mass.

May 30--SALISBURY -- Hired by a local man suffering from cancer to take care of him inside his Lafayette Road home, a homeless Salisbury woman stole several of his checks and opened four credit cards in his name, stealing thousands of dollars and ringing up tens of thousands in debt.

On Wednesday, 44-year-old Jodie Anderson admitted to those accusations before Judge Allen Swan at Newburyport District Court and was sentenced to a year in jail with two months credit for time served.

In March, Anderson was charged by local police with 25 counts of forgery of a check, uttering a false check, identity fraud (three counts), issuing false statements to obtain credit card (four counts) and one count of credit card fraud.

According to Salisbury police Detective Steven Sforza's report, the investigation into Anderson began in January, when the victim reported a past breaking-and-entering of his home sometime during his six-week stay in a hospital.

The 63-year-old victim told police that numerous personal checks were missing from a dresser in his living room. A search of the house found it to be in disarray with trash, clothes and oxygen tubes used by the victim scattered everywhere.

Anderson, whom he hired to be his caretaker, told police that she believed the victim's sister had stolen the checks.

But as police continued their investigation, evidence began pointing to Anderson. During a time period of about a month -- Dec. 19, 2013, to Jan. 14, 2014 -- Anderson cashed numerous checks allegedly signed by the victim and made out to her. Ranging from $40 to $346, the checks were written to cover bogus electric and cable bills, gasoline purchases, car insurance payments, groceries and a laptop computer. All told she was able to cash $3,851 during that time.

At the same time, Anderson opened four credit cards under the victim's name and rang up a staggering $15,359 in debt, according to Sforza's report.

"This detectives then confirmed with the victim that he in fact did not sign or authorize the defendant to make out the listed checks in question," Sforza wrote in his report.

According to court records, the victim met Anderson in Florida a long time ago and felt bad that she didn't have a place to stay. The victim then told Anderson that he needed assistance due to his illness, and asked if she would like a job taking care of him inside his home. The victim was led to believe that Anderson was a nurse and told police he had no idea she had been stealing from him. He also told police that Anderson likely discovered his mother's maiden name and date of birth and used that information to secure credit cards.

Yesterday, Sforza said Anderson has been accused of similar crimes in other states and has a long list of aliases, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

"She's a scam artist and preys on weak people," Sforza said. "She's been scamming people for a long time."

Sforza added that the victim was still alive, but not doing very well. He did not know whether the victim would receive restitution. Court records do not show restitution as part of her sentence.


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Source: Daily News of Newburyport (MA)

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