On Your Side: Suspect Surrenders

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News 12 at 6, July 19, 2007

Martinez -- A woman accused of scamming dozens of people out of nearly $200,000 is in jail.

Cynthia O'Tyson turned herself to Richmond County authorities Thursday morning.

Investigators say that $200,000 figure could easily keep growing with all the calls they've been getting.

They say the good news is Cynthia O'Tyson is off the street and won't be scamming anyone else anytime soon.

O'Tyson's neighbors are in a state of shock. That's because they just learned the person they lived next to is in jail.

"She was pretty quiet, kept to herself. She was very meticulous about her yard," said neighbor Frances Rhodes.

"Whatever it was, she was pretty good at staying to herself," said neighbor Romien Pierce.

Richmond County investigators say Cynthia operated a massive scam ring for the past six months.

The list of victims is in the dozens and growing.

"It's escalating to approximately 40 to 70 victims. The phone hasn't stopped ringing since 8:30AM," said Richmond County Investigator Anita Hopson.

So what exactly did Cynthia do? Investigators say she scammed victims with a clever pitch of being able to get cut-rate prices on electronics and appliances.

She'd collect huge sums of money, but never delivered the products.

"We have victims [who] have lost anywhere from $250-$25,000," Hopson said.

Early totals from victims are upwards of $200,000 and investigators say it could keep growing.

This is not Cynthia's first time with a mug-shot. She also had them when she was known as Cynthia Reeves and Cynthia Reeves O'Tyson. It was only five years ago that she was released from prison after serving three years for forgery and credit card fraud.

And, investigators say she's been up to her old tricks again lately, something her neighbors just can't believe.

"You just don't know people," Rhodes said.

Because Cyndi O'Tyson was on parole when she was arrested, she cannot post bond and will stay in jail until her trial.

If you think you may be a victim in this case, please call law enforcement in the county that the crime was committed in.

Investigators say she will be charged with racketeering because there are so many victims.

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