Woman gets 60 years in fraud

  • Follow Crime & courts

Her eyes streaming tears, Cynthia O’Tyson was quickly led out of a Superior Courtroom Thursday to begin serving a 60-year prison sentence for an extensive Ponzi scheme in which she scammed friends, relatives, TV station employees and even local judges into buying cheap electronics.
Several of the 38 victims authorities have managed to identify as having been scammed by the 45-year-old O’Tyson sat watching her dab her eyes with a tissue as Judge James G. Blanchard handed down the sentence and ordered her to repay $242, 444 in restitution upon her release. Dozens, or perhaps hundreds more, who fell victim to her scheme were denied the satisfaction of watching her taken into custody and will not regain their lost income. Some, like Judge J. David Roper and Judge Mike Annis, whose family bought items from O’Tyson, weren’t present either.
“Ms. O’Tyson, it’s obvious to me you are a thief . . . and a threat to society,” Blanchard said before handing down the sentence on 38 counts of theft-by-taking.
Starting in 2007, O’Tyson began telling others she could obtain normally expensive electronic items, such as flat-screen TV’s, well below their value from a business partner in Atlanta.
She used people in her church and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, where she served, to solicit orders for her falsified company, Wholesale Liquidators. In truth, O’Tyson was buying the items at Best Buy or HHGregg with other investors’ dollars. She would meet them anywhere she could – at home, at the bank or often in the parking lot of Fatz Café in Evans, to exchange hundreds and thousands of dollars. For a time, the chamber even promoted her as a viable local business. She’d often hang flyers up in local barbershops to entice more buyers.
O’Tyson delivered the electronics to the early buyers to keep up the appearance of her outfit, but later investors never received their purchases.
“It’s the subsequent waves of people that ended up being left out in the cold,” said Richmond County Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers.
In one particularly striking example of the lengths she went to, O’Tyson filled an order at Bob Richards Chevrolet from an employee in the automobile shop, only to make “open call” to the other employees that she was taking orders before leaving. O’Tyson ended up, “. . . leaving the business with essentially a pocketful of money,” Myers said.
At her turn to speak, O’Tyson admitted her guilt and blamed her deception on a need to be accepted by others. Her attorney, public defender Hugh Hadden, said O’Tyson had been treated while in jail for a mental disorder that demanded she seek approval from others. The attention she was receiving from prominent people in the community fed into her scheme, he said.
“My activities in 2007, I am ashamed and embarrassed of what I’ve done to people I cared about,” O’Tyson said. “I no longer have to be that person to accept people’s acceptance and approval.”
But it was her extensive history of theft and deception that seemed to influence Blanchard.
O’Tyson was sentenced to 30-years for first-degree financial transaction card fraud in 1999. She was released in 2002. Before this, she had been in court in 1985 for felony theft by deception and sentenced to 10-years probation; then in 1989 she was sentenced to another 10-years probation for felony theft by taking and ordered to pay $3,079 in restitution. She was also charged with misdemeanor deposit account fraud in 1990.
“It’s obvious that a 30-year sentence didn’t get your attention,” said Blanchard as he gave her sentence. “Let’s see a 60-year sentence does.”
Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

O'Tyson  Augusta Chronicle file
Augusta Chronicle file
O'Tyson


Comments (49) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Fiat_Lux
16245
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/30/10 - 06:13 pm
0
0
Ouch.

Ouch.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 12/30/10 - 06:27 pm
0
0
If a 30 yr sentence put her

If a 30 yr sentence put her back on the street in 3 yrs I guess 60yrs will have her out in 6. What a joke.

storiesihaveread
358
Points
storiesihaveread 12/30/10 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Not really the smartest

Not really the smartest person to rip off a Judge!!

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/30/10 - 06:38 pm
0
0
She is an incorrigible. I

She is an incorrigible. I hope she can be locked up permanently. There are some people who just won't or can't straighten up and fly right no matter how many chances they get.

turncoat
0
Points
turncoat 12/30/10 - 07:02 pm
0
0
What about the judge who gave

What about the judge who gave her ANOTHER 10 year PROBATION while she was already on a 10 year probation? A lot of the time these people can only do what they do because of judges who make dumb decisions like that.

fred1
0
Points
fred1 12/30/10 - 07:42 pm
0
0
You mentioned TV station

You mentioned TV station employees were victims but not which station/stations they were from.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/30/10 - 08:53 pm
0
0
Hmmm... Will this case get

Hmmm... Will this case get reversed? She defrauds a couple of judges and then is sentenced by their colleague. Can we say conflict of interest?

I'm sure she is guilty, but this is asking to be overturned.

cpadgettmorris
0
Points
cpadgettmorris 12/30/10 - 09:06 pm
0
0
You would certainly think

You would certainly think that intelligent people would know... If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And with her history of theft and fraud, what could they possibly have been thinking?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 12/30/10 - 09:13 pm
0
0
She'll get hers on the real

She'll get hers on the real judgement day. I hope she likes really, really hot weather.

John Locke
345
Points
John Locke 12/30/10 - 09:29 pm
0
0
There does seem to be a lot

There does seem to be a lot of missing information. What church for instance? Also, I thought she worked for the CC Chamber, what do they mean by "served"? Also, think about the people who chose to do business with her just to buy stuff cheap. For being the cream of local society, why are they meeting in a parking lot? Or do they just really care about saving a buck or two? There's a lot more here that we'll never hear about. Like, what exactly did the judges buy? What did they pay? where did they buy it? Hmmmmm......

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/31/10 - 01:19 am
0
0
Take it a step further. She

Take it a step further. She had an identity problem per her admittance. Take a good look.

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/30/10 - 09:35 pm
0
0
She needs to be punished for

She needs to be punished for the rest of her life. She's wasted way to many chances to finally do the right thing. She isn't going to do it on her own. Punishment is all that she will understand.

bclicious
756
Points
bclicious 12/30/10 - 09:54 pm
0
0
I hope that they seized all

I hope that they seized all of her assets in order to try and pay back her victims.

As for the 60 years she earns it.

Southern_Patriot
0
Points
Southern_Patriot 12/30/10 - 09:55 pm
0
0
Sweetie Pie got a 60 yr

Sweetie Pie got a 60 yr sentance, she's 45 yrs old and she will be 105 yrs old when she gets out and she has to pay $242K restitution, the judge should go to prison too!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/30/10 - 10:13 pm
0
0
It surprises me that public

It surprises me that public officials would fall for such a scam.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 12/30/10 - 10:34 pm
0
0
Some things that sound too

Some things that sound too good to be true, actually are true. If you see how it is done and you could have also done it then it isn't too good to be true. I know someone who has made 173.04% in a mutual funds since Jan 1, 2009 using market timing. It is true and double checked by an independent source. On the other hand, if you don't understand it and cant verify by an independent source you better run away quickly. There are lots of crooks out there and thousands are being taken right now.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 12/30/10 - 10:34 pm
0
0
How honest are the people who

How honest are the people who purchased products for a price that must be delt with under the table and in the parking lot? And a judge didn't know better?

robaroo
858
Points
robaroo 12/30/10 - 11:10 pm
0
0
Nonviolent offender, so she

Nonviolent offender, so she only serves a few years on a thirty year sentence, even after multiple offenses. She'll be back out after a few years.

By that time, people will have forgotten her, so she can get right back to business.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 12/31/10 - 12:20 am
0
0
It's all about greed. Trying

It's all about greed. Trying to get something for nothing.

Suzy Q
1
Points
Suzy Q 12/31/10 - 12:44 am
0
0
crackerjack is right. When

crackerjack is right. When you're buying new high-end electronics at bargain basement prices it should set off alarm bells in your head.

Scammers know that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to turn a blind eye to what doesn't appear right if it's to their benefit. I'm not suggesting that the scammers are justified or that they don't deserve jail time, but what appears to be greed in their victims only makes their jobs easier and more profitable.

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/31/10 - 01:25 am
0
0
Willow, you sound like a lib,

Willow, you sound like a lib, blaming the victims not the criminals. Oh wait, you are a lib. Next step for you is to blame the hold up victim for daring to have a wallet with money in it. Should not have enticed that danged street criminal with the appearance of owning a wallet that might have contained money.

I guess it didn't occur to you that there are some stupid people out there who want to get something for nothing. Now if we could just take that attitude toward the entitlement crowd who don't find a thing wrong with getting the same something for almost nothing from the government.

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/31/10 - 01:31 am
0
0
So, Willow, how honest are

So, Willow, how honest are the baby mothers who take the largess from our most generous government and keep having those babies by this one and that one? Baby daddies who don't have to pay for a place to live while they shack up at taxpayer expense? They have it down to a science. How honest are those daddies?

KSL
140386
Points
KSL 12/31/10 - 01:42 am
0
0
Trying to get something for

Trying to get something for nothing has been turned into the American way, unfortunately. What the heck is earned income credit, medicaid, EBT, Section 8 vouchers? I could go on.The safety net has gotten so big in America that too many don't know how to stand on their own, let alone want to.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 12/31/10 - 04:59 am
0
0
60 years for a confidence

60 years for a confidence scam? WOW! That is a tough sentence. Heck, there are violent offenders that get much less than that.

Brad

TeamLoser
1
Points
TeamLoser 12/31/10 - 06:19 am
0
0
Normally deals in parking

Normally deals in parking lots for new items involve questionably acquired goods, those scammed have no problems with that possibility their only problem with they got scammed not someone else.

Nativeson1
2
Points
Nativeson1 12/31/10 - 06:42 am
0
0
I blame her and the people

I blame her and the people who thought they could get something good for nearly nothing...IF I got to meet you in parking lots and in other people's place of business to do business with you OBVIOUSLY something is wrong...Everybody involved was greedy, sorry but that is what it boils down to...I think the fact so many people of influence who are supposed to be smarter than average got caught up in her web of deception more than likely played a significant role in her receiving a 60 year prison sentence for being an annoying non-violent criminal.

Church_Fraud_Prevention
0
Points
Church_Fraud_Prevention 12/31/10 - 06:59 am
0
0
Cases of church fraud like

Cases of church fraud like this are especially sad. It's so easy to take advantage of trusting people in a church environment. She should be ashamed.

RushLimbuttbubba
0
Points
RushLimbuttbubba 12/31/10 - 07:45 am
0
0
Hope she doesn't try to scam

Hope she doesn't try to scam the prison staff.

Hey KSL...from the beginning of this country there have been people who believed they are 'entitled' to have everything. We left the KING because he wanted everything we had because he was the KING. When we came here to America...boy!! did some of us go wild with this 'getting something for nothing thing'. As I can see...this entitlement mentality still exists. The rich get richer and poor get poorer. We who have 'worked' hard and provide opportunities should get 'tax entitlement breaks'....those who don't work and try to make opportunities why should you get 'welfare entitlement'....then you have to steal and scam like this women. Oh well...if you insist...Rich people steal too.....Is America great or what!

hopscotch
0
Points
hopscotch 12/31/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
When you read the article

When you read the article correctly, it says family members of the judges and not the judges themselves. That could be one of the judges kids ie, a young person. On the flip side, what you're not reading here is that she took advantage of quite a few elderly people as well. People that thought they knew her and had no reason to distrust her. All of her scamming did not involve the exchange or expected exchange of products. Some of it was her bilking individuals for money. Please read carefully and look at the big picture. If you know a con artist, you know how charming they can be and they have little to no conscience whatsoever. She is a menace!

belle
311
Points
belle 12/31/10 - 08:41 am
0
0
The psychological disorder
Unpublished

The psychological disorder she supposedly suffers from could possibly stem from the fact that she has created so many enemies by ripping them off! As for the length of her sentence, 60 years does seem extreme for this particular crime. The judges who did not enforce her probation violations and the fool who approved letting her out after only 3 yrs of her 30 year sentence failed their duty. Then there are the people who were clearly making shady deals in parking lots. How much of her criminal acts are her fault and how much are societies for enabling her?

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs