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Couple swindles man out of $3390

A man serving time in prison for grand theft and forgery has been charged, along with his wife, for bilking a Liberty County man out of $3390. Timothy E. McCormick, 27, who is serving an 18 month sentence at Okaloosa Work Camp, and Cristie Lessel McCormick, 32, of Hosford, have both been charged with grand theft from a person 65 years of age or older and communications fraud. According to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, a man living in the Orange Community said he received a phone call last spring from a man who identified himself as Ralph, a close friend. The man told him he was in Atlanta and asked if he could help his daughter, Cristie, while he was away. Later that day, Cristie called needing money and the calls continued almost daily with the man giving her money each time she asked. The man proclaiming to be Ralph called again a week later asking for his continued help until he got back into town. The calls from Cristie never stopped and her father’s friend doled out the cash as requested. Another call from “Ralph” came a week later, asking for a total on what his daughter had borrowed. The friend advised her balance was up to $1980. Three days later, Cristie called and said her father had lost his job so he shouldn’t call him about repaying the money. She assured him she was making arrangements with her mother to repay the loans. The man said Cristie continued asking for more money and even brought her children over for a visit. She then told him her mother was hospitalized and she needed even more money for a trip to Gainesville. The man posing as Ralph called about 10 days later to thank him for all he had done and assured him he would repay him once he got back from Gainesville. The man continued fulfilling the ongoing requests for money from Cristie who came back later in the month to advise her mother was sick again and had to return to Gainesville. At that point, the amount borrowed was up to $3,390 and the man posing as Ralph called to say he would be by the next day to repay the debt. Instead, another call from Cristie came asking for more money and the man finally cut her off. He said Cristie then confessed that her father knew nothing about the money, but she would repay him. The man tracked down his friend, the real “Ralph”, and told him Cristie had someone posing as him to get him to give her money. Ralph told him to do whatever he needed to do, but he was not able to repay the money she had gotten from him. Cristie met with Liberty County authorities in December and reportedly admitted to having her husband pose as her dad and call his friend so he would give her money. After the investigation was complete, Cristie was arrested Feb. 9 and booked into the Liberty County Jail. She posted bond the following day. Her husband remains in custody at the Okaloosa Work Camp where he has been incarcerated since September.

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