Alleged advertising scammer facing new charges
Posted July 29, 2008 11:46 p.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2008 12:34 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — A woman charged in connection with an advertising scheme in Apex faces similar charges in other North Carolina counties.
Lois Cozart is one of five business owners in downtown Apex who bought advertising from Kristal Hill last fall. Cozart said she paid $247 to place an ad on a takeout menu for a local restaurant that was never produced.
"Then I Googled her name and found that she had done this same advertising scheme in Mooresville,” Cozart said.
In October, investigators said Hill surrendered to authorities after seeing a story about herself on WRAL. Hill has been convicted 14 times for similar crimes across the state. Each time, she was sentenced to probation.
In spite of her convictions, Greensboro police said Hill recently scammed a business there out of nearly $3,000 on the sale of a billboard. She also has nine other charges pending in five counties.
"It's really discouraging that people can do this to small-business owners or to anybody,” Cozart said.
Hill is awaiting trial in Wake County for the crimes she is accused of committing in Apex. Many victims want to know why more isn't being done to make Hill pay for them.
The district attorney said the system is partly to blame.
"We just don't have an up-to-date, accurate, user-friendly information system in the courts," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said.
Willoughby said the 25-year-old computer system, developed before the Internet, does not allow easy access to background information from other counties. The heavy case load doesn't help either.
"Trying to budget enough time on each of those to get a good and accurate criminal history really puts a strain on the system," Willoughby added.
It puts a strain on the the victims as well.
"That is not right, that she can continue to do this and not get into trouble," Cozart said.
A spokesperson for Department of Correction said they are aware of the numerous charges pending against Hill. Bring arrested is a probation violation and can result in jail time. However, the department has not asked a judge to revoke Hill's probation.