Los Angeles

‘Sweetheart Scammer' Ordered to Pay $100K to People She Swindled

How detectives say a convicted felon with no permanent home address hopscotched across three states and funded a wealthy lifestyle by living entirely off stolen identities

A convicted fraudster who spent nearly 20 years using her good looks and charm to fund a wealthy lifestyle by living off stolen identities has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution to 10 victims, prosecutors said.

Maria Hendricks, who was convicted in the fall and sentenced to state prison in a fraud case in Los Angeles County, is expected to pay $100,686 to three hotels, American Express, five individuals, and a pet clinic, officials said.

Maria Hendricks shot video from a patio overlooking the beach March 17, 2016 in the weeks before she was arrested on April 28, 2016, the latest in a string of arrests for identity theft.

Hendricks was arrested in April while staying in a $7,000-a-night bungalow at the Four Seasons Resort in Santa Barbara. She gave deputies a driver's license that had her picture, but a different name and a birth date about 20 years older, records show.

Hendricks, who also went by the names Maria Johnson and Maria Hainka, has convictions for fraud, check forging and ID theft in Washington state and Oregon dating back to 1997, authorities said.

She had no home, moved from place to place, and ripped off men and women by assuming different identities, authorities said.

Maria Hendricks

Hendricks has declined to comment.

Victims said she was attractive, cunning and had a good story. She dropped names of famous directors and Hollywood celebrities. She claimed to be a relative of the oil magnate J. Paul Getty. Another time she claimed she was a relative of the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Racing Team, detectives said.

"If someone had a dog, she'd pretend to be a dog walker," said LAPD Detective John Manoogian, a member of the task force that tracked her down.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Maria Hendricks snapped this picture of a champagne and sweet treat from a hotel room on April 9, 2016.
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