CHICAGO (CBS) — More people are telling us their tales of losing thousands of dollars in an elaborate Chicago Charade – all orchestrated, they say, by a woman we have told you about before.
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker focused this time on Candace Clark’s history of hopping from one million-dollar home to the next – all the while not paying a penny in rent.
“It’s a beautiful house. My husband bought it for me,” said Fiori Hadera.
She describes her dream home in Lincoln Park as “bright” and “big” with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and three hot tubs.
According to Zillow’s estimate, it’s $2.5 million of luxury living.
“I love the house,” said Hadera.
She may love it, but she cannot live in it.
“It is painful, very painful,” she said.
The source of Hadera’s pain is Candace Clark.
Hadera rented her Lincoln Park house to Clark last September while she and her husband sold their home in Palatine. The plan was to move back to Chicago this summer.
“I want to see her in jail,” said Hadera. “That’s it.”
Why? Because Clark had signed a lease to pay $9,000 a month. She has not paid one penny.
In addition, we discovered Clark has done something similar to other homeowners.
“We lost almost $50,000,” said one property owner who didn’t want to be identified.
He rented his Lincoln Park house to Clark last July. According to Zillow, it is worth $5.6 million. Clark stayed there for three months before moving into Hadera’s home.
“We were watching $10,000 go out the door every month because she wasn’t paying her rent,” he said.
Clark has a history of not paying rent. In 2016, another property owner took her to court, evicting her from his $400,000 Oak Lawn home. She lived rent-free in that house for 10 months.
In 2018, an Edgewater homeowner evicted her from his $1.3 million house. Clark spent four rent-free months there.
“Someone comes to live just free,” said Hadera. “It’s criminal.”
Her realtor recommended Clark based on Clark’s lease application. Clark claimed she worked at the Illinois Advocacy Center, made $288,000 a year and had a credit score of 734.
The problem? None of that was true. In fact, the social security number Clark entered was stolen, according to Chase Bank.
And there is more proof that Clark has a history of creating fake documents. She left several papers behind after being evicted from the Oak Lawn house.
The documents included papers where someone cut out names, email addresses and company logos, and either taped or pasted those cutouts onto printed out pay stub and background check documents. Someone then copied those mocked up documents, making them appear real.
Basically, she cut out and pasted together a big lie that landlords and realtors fell for.
“I was a rookie. She was a pro,” said the realtor who rented the $5 million Lincoln Park home to Clark.
He also wants to remain anonymous, because, quite frankly, he’s a little embarrassed.
“We did miss things, because we didn’t dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s,” he said.
By the time he and everyone else realized Clark was a phony, they had already given her the keys to their homes in exchange for her security deposit.
In Hadera’s case, that was $18,000. As you might have guessed, the checks bounced.
“It was fraud,” said Hadera.
We caught Clark on camera entering Hadera’s home on two separate occasions. On Dec. 13, 2019, we watched as she accepted a food delivery. Most recently, on January 6, 2020, we saw her carrying bags of groceries inside.
That most recent time, a CBS 2 photographer told Clark that Tucker wanted to speak with her.
These homeowners and realtor are just the latest victims Clark is accused of scamming. In a previous CBS2 Investigation, we revealed an elaborate production where she takes an oath of office, pretending to be the newest Director of Investigations for the State of Illinois.
She hired actors, musicians, singers under the guise of needing the recorded production to confirm her position.
“Nobody was paid, nobody,” said Jamie Newell, the actress who played the judge in several of the ceremonies.
A total of $20,800 is what Clark owes them.
Darlene Simmons took the biggest financial hit and called Clark, “a devil.”
Clark convinced Simmons she was a real estate agent who could help her buy a home. Simmons told us she believed Clark because they had become friends.
“I felt she was an honest person; friendly, because she was like, ‘I would never do anything to hurt you,’” Simmons said.
Clark ended up swindling Simmons out of $73,000, money Simmons had taken out of her retirement fund.
“I worked 40 years at the Tribune for, 40 years to have it all taken from me,” Simmons said. “How? How could you do that?”
We did try to question Clark after one of her ceremonies in November, but Clark said to Tucker, “Get out of my face.”
Many of Clark’s victims wonder why she is not in jail. Many have filed consumer complaints and police reports.
“I didn’t get a satisfactory answer. It was very frustrating,” said the realtor for the $5 million Lincoln Park home.
We also cannot get answers. Chicago Police will only confirm they are investigating Clark. So what is taking so long?
We showed our first story to CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller.
“Financial crimes take a lot of time to investigate,” he said.
In Clark’s case, Miller said authorities could be looking at state and federal violations including, theft, fraud, impersonating a public official, identity theft, and mail fraud. However, they need proof, evidence, and documentation to prosecute.
“Whether it be from banks or a government agency like the secretary of state; handwriting. You have to go from bank to bank, from victim to victim. Law enforcement has to get it right,” said Miller.
While Hadera waits for law enforcement to act, she has taken Clark to court. However, the eviction process takes time.
Time is something Hadera is not sure she and her husband have. She told us the experience has been aggravating.
“I can’t put it into words,” Hadera said. “This is so hard for us.”
Clark owes Hadera more than $30,000 in back rent, money Hadera needs to cover the mortgage.
“We are just scared. Maybe the bank will take the house. We can’t afford it now,” said Hadera.
We keep asking Candace Clark to sit down and talk with us on camera to explain her actions. She has played cat and mouse with us for weeks and refuses to set a concrete date. So we are still waiting.