Local News

More Victims Of Alleged Scam Artist Come Forward

Posted August 6, 2005

— Police continued their search for a Charlotte woman accused of posing as a talent agent to steal money from families as another victim came forward Saturday.

Valerie Cooke said she answered an ad in a local paper and took her five-year-old son Christopher to a casting call at a hotel in Greenville.

Cooke said Dawn Cockrell, who claimed to be with the Alexander Agency, spoke to the group. Cockrell said she could get Christopher modeling and acting jobs.

"I was very excited and I told my son about it and he was very excited," Cooke said.

So Cooke signed Christopher up with the agency and wrote a $145 check. But when she tried to contact someone later to send photos, Cooke learned Cockrell and the agency had disappeared.

"I'm just devastated," Cooke said.

Cooke said about 30 people attended the meeting and most of them handed over $145. Cooke also said she signed a contract that listed all of her son's personal information, including his social security number.

"I'm just so scared," Cooke said. "I'm so scared about identity fraud."

Cooke filed complaints with the Greenville Police Department and the N.C. Attorney General's Office.

Charlotte police said Cockrell is wanted for identify theft there.

Cockrell also has been accused of running talent scams in Goldsboro and Chapel Hill.

Police said Cockrell charged families in Chapel Hill for auditions at a dance studio. Cockrell also promised about 150 children a part in movie that did not exist.

But authorities have not been able to apprehend Cockrell. Investigators believe she may now be in California.

"I want her to be punished. I would love to look her in the face and tell her exactly what I think of her," Cooke said. "How could she do this to the children?"


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