Woman who claimed to be victim of domestic violence arrested

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in Women Behaving Badly | No Comments

Woman who claimed to be victim of domestic violence arrested

for alleged $36,000 scam of benefactor
By Patty Wooten Advance Staff Writer

A woman who claimed she was the victim of domestic violence was arrested Monday for allegedly scamming an employee of the local battered women’s shelter out of about $36,000, according to police.

Hollie Cephas, a former client at Options, played on the sympathies of a shelter employee, saying she was dying of cancer, according to Lt. John Dement, a criminal investigator with the Monticello Police Department.

“The victim loaned Cephas her credit card to purchse medicine but Cephas ran up more than $11,000 in charges at a liquor store, fast food restaurants and shopping sprees at Fred’s and Wal Mart,” Dement said.

She also loaned Cephas about $25,000 over an eight month period to pay bills, purchase household items, and buy clothing, according to Dement.

“She even gave her money to bury a child who isn’t dead,”Dement said.

Cephas, who told the victim she’d had a kidney transplant, called the woman in January saying she was dying at UAMS and doctors would soon be taking her off life support, Dement said.

It was all a scam, according to Dement.

Cephas, 26, was arrested Monday afternoon at her Monticello apartment where she was living with her husband, the man she said beat her so badly she miscarried two babies, wouldn’t allow her to eat but once a day, locked up her insulin and needles to prevent her from giving herself insulin shots, called her a “fat pig” and made her call him “sir.”

Cephas had previously shared her “story” with The Advance and the wives of two state lawmakers who toured the state’s domestic violence shelters to raise domestic violence awareness and the need to continue funding shelters like Options.

She told The Advance in the October interview that she had lived in Saline County where she endured beatings, emotional abuse, isolation, and two miscarriages – caused by beatings – before she left her 46-year-old husband and found a safe haven at the Monticello shelter.

Options director Brenda Noble, who learned of Cephas’ arrest from a reporter, was clearly shocked. She believed Cephas was dead.

“She died,” Noble said. “She died on January 27.”

Assured that Cephas was very much alive at the Drew County Detention Center, Noble said, “I’m shocked and appalled because I thought the woman was dead. I even called the Department of Human Services and told them the woman was dead.”

District Court Judge Ken Harper set Cephas’ bond at $250,000 Tuesday afternoon.

She likely will be charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, theft by deception, breaking or entering and theft or property, according to Dement.

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