LANCASTER (CBSLA.com) — A Lancaster couple says they were victimized by a woman who authorities suspect engaged in multiple counts of identity theft.
Greg and Betsy Aganowski said they had moved to San Diego for a job opportunity and had rented their home in Lancaster to a woman they say scammed them. Nine months later, they say, they’ve had to return to Lancaster to deal with the situation.
The Aganowskis’ say they woman they say claimed to be Cathryn Parker told them she had bad credit but enough money so they skipped a background check.
“Gave us this full on sob story. That you know, ‘I have cancer. I’m in remission now and I’m wanting to move out of LA. Out of the hustle and bustle,’ ” said Greg Aganowski, while Betsy added: “She wanted to heal and our hearts went out to her.”
Months later, the couple says they realized Parker’s name, identity, and the company she said she owned were allegedly fake.
“It was all one big lie,” Aganowski said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives say Parker’s real name is Katherine Gonsalves, and allege that she’s used 74 different aliases.
Investigators also allege that Gonsalves rented various properties and activated utilities in different names and has held fundraisers for various fake organizations.
Police said at least seven victims have come forward but believe there may be others.
“It’s sad that people can look you straight in the eye and promise you things and tell you things and it’s not true at all,” Betsy said.
The couple says they spent their savings trying to evict the suspected identity thief.
They say she left a voicemail in which she said: “You’re going to be real sorry. Definitely, because I will take action and tie this house up for years to come.”
Gonsalves was arrested in March on suspicion of multiple charges of identity theft, deputies said in a written statement.