CHICAGO (CBS) — More and more people are telling us that they’ve lost thousands of dollars in an elaborate Chicago Charade – all orchestrated, they say, by a woman we’ve told you about before.
CBS 2 investigator Dorothy Tucker this time focused on the story of Candace Clark who jumped from one million-dollar house to another — while not paying a dime in rent.
“It’s a nice house. My husband bought it for me,” said Fiori Hadera.
She describes her dream home in Lincoln Park as “bright” and “big” with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and three hot tubs.
According to Zillow’s estimate, that’s $2.5 million in luxury living.
“I love the house,” Hadera said.
She can love it, but she can’t live in it.
“It’s painful, very painful,” she said.
The source of Hadera’s pain is Candace Clark.
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Hadera rented her Lincoln Park home from Clark last September as she and her husband sold their home in Palatine. The plan was to return to Chicago this summer.
“I want to see her in jail,” Hadera said. “That’s it.”
Why? Because Clark signed a lease to pay $9,000 a month. She didn’t pay a penny.
Also, we found out that Clark had done something similar to other owners.
“We lost almost $50,000,” said an owner who did not want to be identified.
He rented his Lincoln Park home from Clark last July. According to Zillow, he’s worth $5.6 million. Clark stayed there for three months before moving into Hadera’s house.
“We were watching $10,000 go out every month because she wasn’t paying her rent,” he said.
Clark is used to not paying rent. In 2016, another landlord sued her, evicting her from her $400,000 home in Oak Lawn. She lived without rent in this house for 10 months.
In 2018, an Edgewater landlord evicted her from her $1.3 million home. Clark spent four months rent-free there.
“Someone comes to just live free,” Hadera said. “It’s criminal.”
His real estate agent recommended Clark based on Clark’s lease application. Clark claimed she worked at the Illinois Advocacy Center, earned $288,000 a year, and had a credit score of 734.
The problem? None of this was true. In fact, the social security number entered by Clark was stolen, according to Chase Bank.
And there’s more evidence that Clark has a history of forging documents. She left behind several papers after being kicked out of the Oak Lawn house.
The documents included papers where someone cut out names, email addresses and company logos, and taped or pasted those cutouts onto printed pay stubs and background check documents. Someone then copied these fictitious documents, making them appear real.
Basically, she cut and pasted a big lie that landlords and real estate agents fell in love with.
“I was a rookie. She was a pro,” said the real estate agent who rented the $5 million Lincoln Park home from Clark.
He also wants to remain anonymous, because frankly, he’s a little embarrassed.
“We missed things because we didn’t dot all the Is and all the Ts,” he said.
By the time he and everyone else realized Clark was an impostor, they had already given him their house keys in exchange for his security deposit.
In Hadera’s case, it was $18,000. As you might have guessed, the checks bounced.
“It was a fraud,” Hadera said.
We filmed Clark entering Hadera twice. On December 13, 2019, we saw her accepting a food delivery. Most recently, on January 6, 2020, we saw her carrying bags of groceries indoors.
This last time, a CBS 2 photographer told Clark that Tucker wanted to talk to him.
These landlords and real estate agents are just the latest victims Clark is accused of scamming. In a previous CBS2 investigation, we revealed an elaborate production where she is sworn in, claiming to be the new Director of Investigations for the State of Illinois.
She hired actors, musicians, singers on the pretext of needing the recorded production to confirm her position.
“Nobody got paid, nobody,” said Jamie Newell, the actress who played the judge in many of the ceremonies.
A total of $20,800 is what Clark owes them.
Darlene Simmons took the biggest financial hit and called Clark, “a devil.”
Clark convinced Simmons that she was a real estate agent who could help him buy a house. Simmons told us she believed Clark because they had become friends.
“I felt like she was an honest, friendly person, because she was like, ‘I would never do anything to hurt you,'” Simmons said.
Clark ended up scamming Simmons out of $73,000, money that Simmons had withdrawn from his retirement fund.
“I worked 40 years at the Tribune for 40 years to have it all taken away from me,” Simmons said. ” How ? How could you do that?
RELATED: The Darlene Simmons Story: Woman Says ‘Friend’ Candace Clark Scammed Her Out of Over $73,000
We tried to interview Clark after one of his ceremonies in November, but Clark told Tucker, “Get away from my face.
Many of Clark’s victims wonder why she isn’t in jail. Many have filed consumer complaints and police reports.
“I didn’t get a satisfactory answer. It was very frustrating,” said the realtor of the $5 million Lincoln Park home.
We can’t get answers either. The Chicago police will only confirm that they are investigating Clark. So what’s taking so long?
We showed our first story to CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.
“Financial crimes take a long time to investigate,” he said.
In Clark’s case, Miller said authorities could look into state and federal violations, including theft, fraud, impersonation of a public official, identity theft and mail fraud. However, they need evidence, evidence and documents to prosecute.
“Whether it’s banks or a government agency like the Secretary of State; handwriting. You have to go bank to bank, victim to victim. Law enforcement has to get it right,” Miller said.
As Hadera waits for law enforcement to act, she sues Clark. However, the eviction process takes time.
Time is something Hadera isn’t sure she and her husband have. She told us that the experience had been aggravating.
“I can’t put it into words,” Hadera said. “It’s so hard for us.”
Clark owes Hadera over $30,000 in back rent, the money Hadera needs to cover the mortgage.
“We’re just scared. Maybe the bank will take the house. We can’t afford it now,” Hadera said.
We continue to ask Candace Clark to sit down and talk with us on camera to explain her actions. She has been playing cat and mouse with us for weeks and refuses to set a concrete date. So we are still waiting.