RALEIGH, N.C. — Patricia Jacoby pleaded guilty to 10 counts of securities fraud in Mecklenburg County in 2000 and went to prison. When she got out, investigators believe she moved to Raleigh and started all over again. So far, she is charged in just one case, but other victims are coming forward and more charges may soon follow.
Some people liked Jacoby so much they trusted the self-proclaimed art dealer to invest their hard-earned money -- money they say they never saw again.
"The promise was that she was going to make a purchase of some undervalued artwork and turn a profit for the victim. The artwork never materialized and the money hasn't been seen since," said Jim Sughrue, of the Raleigh Police Department.
When Angela Ma first met Jacoby, her neighbor in a north Raleigh townhouse community, she was charmed.
"She was very charismatic, extremely easy to talk to," Ma said.
However, when Jacoby asked Ma and her husband to invest $375,000 in a New Bern estate, they passed.
"It just sounded fishy and she wanted the money very quickly within a week's time to purchase this estate supposedly, and it just didn't sound right to us," Ma said.
The Secretary of State's Office charged Jacoby with fraudulently taking $354,000 from six would-be art investors in Charlotte. She was convicted and sent to prison for 18 months.
"It is a crime. It is somebody stealing from you," Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said. "It's just that they have cloaked it in a sophisticated concept, which would be the sale of art."
Marshall said investors should first check with her office to see if the person approaching them is properly registered with the state. Police are asking anyone else who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud at the hands of Jacoby to contact them. Jacoby went by different aliases -- Perry or Patricia Jordan.