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Store owner’s fraud trial postponed

 

Tim Pratt

 

STARKVILLE -- A Starkville woman accused of defrauding more than a dozen people out of $50,000 worth of furniture will have to wait until July to stand trial in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. 

 

Tamara Christy, 52, who operated a now-defunct furniture store in what is now the Middleton Court Shopping Center on Highway 12, was indicted by the Oktibbeha County grand jury on three counts of fraud by mail. The incidents were alleged to have occurred in 2004 and 2005.  

 

Fourteen other victims also filed complaints against Christy for fraud. In total, she is accused of defrauding customers out of $50,138 in her furniture scheme.  

 

According to the indictment, Christy is accused of "making fraudulent representations or promises" by fax across county lines to victim Tommy Orr, location unknown, on Jan. 13, 2005. No additional details were available.  

 

The second count of the indictment claims victim Terrance Evans ordered furniture from Christy across state lines in July 2004, but did not receive the same furniture he purchased. The third count alleges victim Wayne Rice ordered furniture from Christy across county lines in August 2005, but the furniture delivered was not what Rice purchased.  

 

"Basically, she devised a scheme to defraud them of their money and not provide them with their furniture," Assistant District Attorney Rhonda Hayes-Ellis said. "That''s about all I can say until we go to trial." 

 

Christy eventually moved to Florida but was arrested in Nevada, Hayes-Ellis said. 

 

Christy was scheduled for trial Monday, but defense attorneys Jim Waide and Michael Duncan only delivered their witness list to prosecutors on Friday, which didn''t give the state adequate time for witness interviews, Hayes-Ellis said.  

 

The state Monday filed a motion for a continuance, granted by Judge Lee Howard, to allow time to interview the defense''s witnesses before trial. Christy''s new trial date is July 27.  

 

If convicted, she must pay more than $18,000 to the three victims named in the indictment: $3,980 to Orr, $13,226 to Evans and $1,604.99 to Rice.  

 

Christy faces a fine of up to $10,000 and as many as five years in prison for each of the three counts of mail fraud.

 

 

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