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.
tuffenuf4u
0
Points
tuffenuf4u 12/31/10 - 10:07 am
0
0
Her sentence does seem

Her sentence does seem unfair, when you have people who defraud banks to the tune of several millions in real estate schemes and only get five or six years. While I don't condone her actions, past or present, there does seem to be discrimination in sentencing here. We probably have not heard the last of this case.

Rather
56
Points
Rather 12/31/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
She has to pay back the money

She has to pay back the money when she is released - in 60 years with what the dollar will be worth she will be able to use her minimum wage paycheck for one week and have change left over. That is, if the dollar still exists.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/31/10 - 11:07 am
0
0
Greed is the connection of
Unpublished

Greed is the connection of everyone involved.
No sympathy for anyone involved.

southerngirl
0
Points
southerngirl 12/31/10 - 12:15 pm
0
0
For Cyndi to be compared to

For Cyndi to be compared to rapist and child molesters is a little extreme. Ask someone who has be raped if they would rather be raped or scammed by a con-artist? 60 years for theft, we have repeat violent offenders who get much less.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/31/10 - 01:03 pm
0
0
Nativeson1...I agree.

Nativeson1...I agree. Everyone involved is equally guilty. The deal would set off a red flag to me too. It just baffles me how a public official would fall for such a thing. A few weeks ago, an officer responded to a call about a man selling meat out of his truck. Not all that different is it???

peace2393
0
Points
peace2393 12/31/10 - 01:25 pm
0
0
What this monster did to the

What this monster did to the people who loved and cared for her should sicken anyone, she is a cruel witch who is void of any humanity. she disgusts me, cyndi doesnt care for the fact that she destroyed peoples lives and she deserves far worse than what she recieved.She has been let off far too easily in the past and i hopes she has to sit in prison for the rest of her life.

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 12/31/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Let's not forget that she

Let's not forget that she illegally used the credit card from the Smart Girls Club which almost caused that fine organization to go under. Only through the generous donations from the community did the club survive and is still prospering.
Not all of her scams were about getting something for nothing.
Fatso is a Ratso.

follower
59
Points
follower 12/31/10 - 01:59 pm
0
0
Scams like this will be

Scams like this will be around as long as people want something for nothing.

I'm not surprised by anyone placing trust in someone that later sticks it to you. It's happened to me, and I'm sure many of you.

The part that baffles me is that her shadow company could buy products in Atlanta and would therefore have to collect and account for sales tax on those items. If the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce was promoting "Wholesale Liquidators", did they check the status of her fake company before giving it a "thumbs up"? Was she a licensed Columbia County Business? If so, was the appropriate paperwork filed where the Sales Tax Commission could hold her responsible?

I'll admit to not knowing the details of this case, but I do know that if my company didn't collect and forward Ga. State Sales Taxes, we'd be shut down within 30 days. If she fell throught he cracks of beauracracy, why?

redapples
540
Points
redapples 12/31/10 - 03:17 pm
0
0
I'm so tired of hearing from

I'm so tired of hearing from law breakers that they have a mental illness. That is the most over-played card and takes away from those who truly suffer from a mental illness. Her regret comes from getting caught...again!!

Fiat_Lux
14668
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/31/10 - 03:31 pm
0
0
It doesn't pay to rip off and

It doesn't pay to rip off and ___off a judge or his compatriots, especially if you embarrass him/her in the process. These legal eagles got taken because they were somewhat blinded by their desire.

I believe as Robaroo does, that she will be out in a few years to ply her trade yet again. Perhaps she will pick a different community to fleece next time. Here's hoping.

too_much_time
0
Points
too_much_time 12/31/10 - 03:48 pm
0
0
this forum is pretty

this forum is pretty sad...you post an opinion that the all mighty "forum gods" don't like and they delete it. it doesn't have to violate their policy. and the media wonders why most people call them biased. they cry freedom of the press at every opportunity though when it suits their agenda.

Jake
31455
Points
Jake 12/31/10 - 06:22 pm
0
0
Welcome to the AC world, my

Welcome to the AC world, my friend. That is the reason why the volume of posts has gone down. One day it is OK to say "doo-doo" and the next day "poo-poo" is banned.

Fiat_Lux
14668
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/31/10 - 08:13 pm
0
0
You're too funny, Jake! Sad

You're too funny, Jake! Sad but true. Sean isn't the only one who moderates, and it has become considerably less entertaining to post comments since last March. I doubt that matters very much to the Chronicle higher-ups, but Sean is a truly fine fellow who has always done his best for the online crowd.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 12/31/10 - 09:32 pm
0
0
KSL, very presumptuous of you

KSL, very presumptuous of you to call me liberal. No, I don't blame real victims, but in this case there was fault on both sides. Do you receive merchandise in parking lots for prices too low to be a true reflection of the market? I wouldn't purchase in a parking lot for any price. You said the victims needed protecting because they were stupid. Were ALL of them 'stupid'...does that include Judges Roper and Annis? The woman should have been charged, but the so called victims should get no pity pass from me. Additionally, 60 years is absurd. Murderers get far less time.

For the record, who's more the liberal; me, for expecting people to take personal responsibility for their own choices or you, for expecting the government to protect people from their own poor choices.

Your reaction to my comment is very interesting. Since you have shared your judgement of me, let me say, my reaction to all of your comments was to be thankful that you are not my judge. May God judge us all, not for what we deserve, but with great mercy.

Hope you have a Happy New Year.

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 12/31/10 - 09:36 pm
0
0
There is a lot I could ad to

There is a lot I could ad to these comments, but if you go back to the stories where she got locked back up in 2007, if the comments are still attached to the stories, they will fill in a lot of blanks. I worked with Cyndi at the company she scammed that led to her 1999 conviction, and I was one of the people she gained the confidense of. She was ordered to pay restitution then, but I know I'll never get that money back. To see she is going back to prison again is satisfaction enough. She'll never change.

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 12/31/10 - 09:57 pm
0
0
Go to the 2nd link in

Go to the 2nd link in "Related Stories," "Parole Accused of Scam," and all the comments from her re-arrest are still there and have a lot of background information, if you're not familiar with the original stories.

dawgfan
0
Points
dawgfan 01/01/11 - 09:41 am
0
0
good now maybe she will have

good now maybe she will have plenty of time to think about what she did

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 01/01/11 - 01:03 pm
0
0
And hopefully those who

And hopefully those who purchased from her will spend some time doing some healthy processing... a potential win/win for all. Except for the taxpayers, of course, who pick up the tab for the dishonesty of all of them.

ezyduzit
0
Points
ezyduzit 01/01/11 - 05:43 pm
0
0
She got what she deserved.

She got what she deserved. The only problem is, she deserves 100% of the sentence not 10%..

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 01/02/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
Hey moderators. Thanks for

Hey moderators. Thanks for removing my last comment. I'll NEVER post again....

rowe41
2
Points
rowe41 01/05/11 - 09:28 pm
0
0
@RogueKnight Please don't

@RogueKnight Please don't allow no one to stop your thoughts. You are the reason I have followed this story. You have spoke the truth from day one. I completely understood where you was coming from. I'm truly sorry that you had to experience the heartless experience of someone like this in this world. We all hope & want people to change, but the sad truth is that some people have no desire to change. People like this need to be put away from society. Unfortunately this woman is just like one of those people and she got exactly what she deserved. Had she wanted to change, the first time she got out of prison, she would have started out by trying to pay those first victims off. There is no reason to waist time on trying to phys-co-analyze her. She is where she need to be. Hopefully before she closes her eyes permanently, she will ask for forgiveness to all of the right people and the man above.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Man gets life for molestation

A Richmond County Superior Court convicted Frank K. Jones, 53, of one count of aggravated child molestation. He was acquitted of a second count.
Loading...