01/08/09 — Woman charged in scam

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Woman charged in scam

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 8, 2009 1:46 PM

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Stacie Pittman

A Goldsboro woman accused of bilking her neighbor for money on a health claim faces charges for never spending that money on medical bills, authorities say.

Stacie Harrell Pittman, 31, next-door neighbor to Air Force employee Christopher Hines, is accused of taking about $16,000 from her neighbor after claiming she needed surgery on brain tumors.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Detective Tom Flores, who handles financial crimes, said he can't prove that Ms. Pittman doesn't have brain tumors.

What he has proven, he said, is that Ms. Pittman never spent the money she obtained from Hines on the operations she claimed.

Ms. Pittman still maintained in police interrogations that she had brain tumors, an official close to the case said.

The detective said if Ms. Pittman is indicted for three counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, he will be able to determine if her claims of brain cancer are true.

Being indicted by the Wayne County Grand Jury carries specific requirements, including the ability to check Ms. Pittman's medical records against her claims to her victim and police.

When she was arrested at 4 p.m. yesterday, she told police she had not expected to be prosecuted for allegedly taking the money from Hines.

"I thought something like this would just be civil," Ms. Pittman told a Sheriff's Office official.

But Ms. Pittman also allegedly lied to the detective about the nature of the scams she perpetrated against Hines, the detective said.

Ms. Pittman's first alleged extraction of money from her neighbor was in late September, the detective said.

"She was saying she had a medical condition, that she was to use that money to pay for this medical procedure, chemotherapy and some surgery," Flores said.

The detective alleges Ms. Pittman set up loans at different financial institutions, and made sure that Hines' name was on all paperwork.

She then denied that she was connected in any way to the loans Hines used to pay her the $16,000, the detective said.

Later, however, when a detective searched her belongings at her 4 p.m. arrest, paperwork connection Ms. Pittman to the loan paperwork was found, authorities said.