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Accused con artist Candace Clark keeps walking as CBS 2 investigator Dorothy Tucker asks questions


CHICAGO (CBS) – For the first time since her arrest, accused serial con artist Candace Clark has had the chance to stop by and speak to CBS 2 investigator Dorothy Tucker.

But Clark chose to keep walking.

Clark was back in court Thursday, where she faces five felony charges related to multiple scams.

Tucker wasn’t necessarily surprised that Clark didn’t stop to talk to her, but she was disappointed. Tucker has been asking Clark for an interview for weeks.

They communicated via email, and at one point Clark said she would consider talking to Tucker if Tucker would agree to stop making a fuss about her.

Tucker couldn’t make that promise.

But on Thursday, Tucker hoped Clark would change his mind.

Clark was probably surprised to see our cameras outside the Leighton Courthouse on Thursday, as she was early. It was only 10 a.m. and she didn’t need to be there until 11:30 a.m.

Courthouse rules limit reporters and cameras to a designated area against the wall. So Tucker had to shout his questions and hope Clark would stop to talk.

Tucker: “Candace, don’t you want to say something to all those people accusing you of scamming them?”

Clark:“You know you have evidence to say you’re wrong.”

Instead of explaining further, Clark kept walking.

We also saw Clark waiting outside the courtroom on Thursday. A judge was expected to formally read the charges against her, but an assistant prosecutor asked for an extension and the court was over in less than a minute.

Appearing before the judge, Clark said he had nothing left.

Afterwards, Tucker tried to ask Clark a follow-up question.

Tucker: “You said before that my stories were fake?” Why do you say they are wrong?

Clark’s attorney: “No comment.”

Tucker: “Candace, I know you want to say something. It kills you not to say anything.”

But say something she didn’t say.

A judge has set Clark’s next court date for March 13.

Clark, 50, was arrested after a series of Tucker stories revealed scams that lasted 20 years. CBS 2 will be in court as Clark responds to charges that could put her behind bars.

And now, a story about Clark that dates back over 30 years.

“Here is her,” said a former high school classmate who did not want to be identified.

At the time, the accused scammer was known as Candace Dixon. She attended Percy Julian High School in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Chicago.

The 1987 Catalyst Yearbook shows her pictured as part of Big Brothers and Sisters, a member of the modeling club and math team.

“I remember her going to class, walking to class, but I really didn’t socialize with her,” the former classmate recalled.

The classmate said decades ago there were signs that Candace might be taking a different path.

“Well, she was Teen USA,” the classmate said. “That’s what she told us.”

And, there’s a photo in the yearbook to prove it. Candace Dixon wears the Miss Illinois crown and sash. Only there is a small problem.

We found the video of the 1987 Miss Teen USA pageant ceremony with all the state winners…including Miss Illinois.

Surprise, surprise – it wasn’t Candace Dixon. It was Danielle Reese from Riverwoods, Illinois.

This alleged beauty queen, now known as Candace Clark, faces five felony charges. One is to impersonate a government employee.

RELATED: ‘She needs to be stopped,’ ex-friend says of alleged con artist Candace Clark

Hadera says Candace Clark was living in her rent-free house. Clark had signed a lease, agreeing to pay $9,000 a month, but never paid a penny.

Clark pretended to be the new Director of Special Investigations for the State of Illinois. She produced six fake ceremonies where she hired more than 50 performers and never paid them the collective $21,000 she promised.

Clark also faces four robbery charges, accused of breaking into two multimillion-dollar homes and never paying a dime in rent.

Clark was eventually evicted but owed the two owners over $80,000.
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The people behind these crimes are only a fraction of those accusing Clark of fraud. Among the first was Staneeda Ware, who says Clark scammed her out of $3,000 20 years ago.

“She’s evil. She’s a monster,” Ware said.

In total, we have identified 86 people and companies who lost money to Clark. Add that up and the total comes to $469,000.

Court is not new to Clark. But in the past, she has received nothing more than a slap on the wrist with a feather.

Between 2008 and 2010, Cark was arrested six times in Chicago and three other suburbs of Orland Park, Matteson and Homewood. At the time, she was facing charges of theft, writing bad checks and impersonating a police officer.

“It’s his high. It’s in his blood,” Ware said.

The most Clark ever got was probation. This time, Clark’s accusers are hoping for a different outcome, including the latest – Stephanie Bennett, who says she lost her home after Clark scammed her.

Bennett was just 27 when she bought a $225,000 house in suburban Midlothian in 2010. She had spent years saving the $10,000 down payment.

“I thought, look what I’ve accomplished,” Bennett said.

Five years later, Bennett was moving out of town, so she rented her house to Clark for $2,000 a month.

“It was awful,” Bennett said. “It was a horrible experience.”

For eight months, Clark lived without rent. When she left, the place was a mess and Bennett had $16,000 in the hole.

“I couldn’t keep up with paying for someone trashing my house and then repairs that needed to be done,” Bennett said. “I had to go into foreclosure.”

She now echoes what others have said when asked about Clark’s future and where she should call her next home.

“She deserves to be behind bars for a long, long time,” Bennett said.

The charges Clark faces now carry penalties ranging from one to 10 years in prison.


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