KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Colin Mills thought he had found a good friend in a Kansas City woman he met at the gym. He never imagined that six months later, he’d be calling FOX4 Problem Solvers to report her as a con artist.
It all started after Mills’ father died and left him a Mustang, the muscle car they had enjoyed working on together. But Mills couldn’t swing the payments on both the Mustang and his Ford truck.
“That’s where Pam stepped in,” Mills said, referring to Pam Smiley, the woman he had struck up a friendship with after meeting her at the gym.
Smiley offered to buy Mills’ truck and told him her company, a Texas-based gym, would use it as a commercial vehicle.
Smiley signed a bill of sale for the truck with the promise she would pay off the nearly $30,000 Mills still owed -- but that never happened.
“Every time I would contact her, she would give me an excuse. 'Oh, the check the will be here,' " Mills said. ' "Oh, the bank will have the funds now.' "
But Mills’ lender hit him with multiple late fees after the payments never arrived.
Four months into the deal, Mills demanded his truck back. That’s when Smiley handed him a check for $29,727, the exact amount she owned.
“I thought everything would be finished,” Mills said.
But, the check was fake.
He reported Smiley, his missing truck and the fake check to Kansas City Police who are investigating. But police told him even if he tracked down Smiley, he couldn’t just take his truck back -- since he technically sold it to her.
“She's walking away with my truck, and I can't report it stolen because she made one payment,” he said.
That's why Mills called the FOX4 Problem Solvers. He hoped we could help him get his truck back and warn others about Smiley.
Smiley is no angel. She’s got a string of mugshots to prove it. She’s been arrested in Missouri, Texas and Kansas for crimes ranging from theft to bad checks to assault. She’s currently on probation in Jackson County.
You may remember Smiley from the Judge Judy TV show three years ago. Smiley was accused by a Johnson County yoga studio owner of taking $2,000 from her for gym equipment, but never delivering it. Smiley lost the case with Judge Judy accusing of her scamming the yoga studio owner.
After the courtroom segment, the victim warned the television audience that there would be others who would fall prey to Smiley.
Three years later – enter Mills and his truck.
FOX4 Problem Solvers called Smiley. We wanted to ask her about Mills’ truck. She agreed to meet with us. But she never showed.
Instead, we heard from a woman who said she was Morgan Parker and claimed to be a paralegal representing Smiley. Parker said the check Smiley gave Mills for his truck was a good check when she delivered it.
But a bank identified the check as fake less than an hour later. Plus, the business account it’s written on-- the Core of Houston-- doesn’t exist, according to the actual owner of the Core of Houston, Lee Schuppenhauer.
Schuppenhauer said Pam hasn’t worked for his company in more than two years. He said shortly after she left, multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers, visited his gym looking for Smiley.
Here’s the good news. The day after we called Smiley letting her know FOX4 Problem Solvers was on the case, she gave Mills his truck back.