A California woman used her looks to gain the trust of people on dating websites in order to steal their identities and tally up thousands of dollars in their names.
43-year-old Maria Christina Johnson is accused of having spent years living in style at high-end luxury hotels and spending thousands of dollars of other people’s money.
Her method, according to authorities, was to “capitalize on her physical attraction and meet victims through well-known dating websites”.
“Once suspect Johnson gained access to a victimâ€™s home, she located their personal identifying information and opened lines of credit without their permission. She would change their mailing address and assume the victimâ€™s identity. Once she gleaned information about the victimâ€™s personal connections, she moved on to steal the identities of their relatives and friends.”
She used many aliases, some of which included Maria Hendricks, Gia Hendricks, Maria Christina Gia, and Maria Hainka.
Police still aren’t entirely sure of the total number of purported victims and are asking anyone who believes they may have been conned by Ms. Johnson to contact them.
By the time they caught her staying at a beachside luxury resort in Santa Barbara late last month, she’d racked up losses of $250,000 in just that case alone. A total dollar value of all her alleged offending isn’t yet known.
The sheriffs department added, “After assuming an identity without permission, suspect Johnson moved into high-end hotels and charged up thousands of dollars worth of goods and services. Investigation revealed Suspect Johnsonâ€™s elevated sense of entitlement compelled her to go to great lengths in aggressively assuming identities; no one was immune from being exploited. Johnson also made appointments with real estate brokers to view expensive homes, possibly in attempt to locate her next victim, and on one occasion, stole the identity of the real estate broker.”