Saturday, February 1, 2003

Scheme seems Fagin-inspired


Runaways taught to steal

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - A woman who is wanted in 10 states for bank fraud and other scams was running her latest out of three apartments in Warren County, authorities said Friday.

Sheriff's officials said that Lottie Mae Stanley, a 50-year-old woman who has used about 30 assumed names, had rented three apartments at the Steeplechase complex off U.S. 22/Ohio 3, where she housed runaways and others and paid them to steal purses and identities to commit thefts.

Last month, she allegedly scammed a Harrison bank out of $500 after posing as a customer and attempting to deposit and withdraw portions of a fraudulent check. It was the third time she has struck at a Harrison bank since 1997, said Harrison Detective Tim Snyder.

Stanley's husband, Aaron Telke, who also uses the last name Pelkie, was arrested at the apartment and charged Friday with harboring a fugitive, his wife, police said.

Meanwhile, the FBI's Cincinnati office put out a call for the public's help in finding Stanley, who was last seen driving a 2003 four-door Chevrolet Cavalier sedan with an Ohio license plate DH93AC. The car belonged to Telke, who is believed to be from Ohio, FBI officials said.

Authorities say Stanley frequently changes her appearance and is considered an expert in defrauding banks through forgery and other schemes.

Stanley is wanted for identity theft and is sought by agencies in Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Maryland, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kansas and Florida, as well as by the FBI in St. Louis for bank fraud and a fugitive warrant.

"It's nice to be able to up the pressure on her by having her husband in jail and having God and the country looking for her," Agent James Turgal said.

Telke is scheduled to be in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Wednesday for a bond hearing.

"I sure hope somebody bags her up real quick," said Lt. John Thorpe of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office in Sanford, Fla. He is on the board of advisers for the National Association of Bunco Investigators Inc. (NABI), an organization of law enforcement that specializes in traveling con artists, and has been tracking Stanley. FBI officials are referring the public to the NABI Web site at www.seminolesheriff.org for the latest photographs of Stanley.

The FBI found Stanley's Deerfield Township home after the arrests of two girls, one 16, the other 17, who allegedly tried to use a stolen check at Kohl's department store Wednesday on Fields Ertel Road in Symmes Township.

Steeplechase managers refused comment, but sheriff's officials said nine to 12 people, including Stanley, had been living in the apartments for two to three months.

The teens, who were runaways from Martinsburg, W.Va., and Lexington, N.C., told sheriff's investigators they were working for Lottie Mae Stanley. At that point, Warren County called in the FBI, said Sheriff's Lt. Jerry Mays, who heads the detective squad.

The girls are accused of stealing purses of patrons and workers at Olive Garden, Applebee's and O'Charley's restaurants in Deerfield Township on Wednesday. They tried to buy merchandise with a check from one of the stolen purses, but fled the store when they were questioned by a cashier, police said.

A security guard at Kohl's followed the girls out of the store and reported their license plate number to authorities, Mays said.

They were jailed in the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center on Friday and their parents were on their way from out of state to be with the girls, Mays said. He said the 17-year-old was reported missing in November. The younger girl's disappearance was not reported, he said.

E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com




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