CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Police are actively searching for a Cleveland woman who is accused of using Facebook to scam more than $189,000 out of hundreds of people across the U.S. and Canada.
Zienup Sbeih-Maddox, 23, is charged with felony theft and telecommunications fraud.
Cleveland 19's Chief Investigator Carl Monday first exposed Sbeih-Maddox and her alleged scheme in an investigative report back in May. On Friday, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
The suspect is described as:
- 130 lbs.
- Brown hair
- Brown eyes
Sbeih-Maddox ran a mom's group on Facebook called "Zee's Place," where she sold heavily discounted baby items, such as diapers and car seats. She later went on to sell big ticket items, like vehicles, electronics and trips around the world. In most cases, the goods were never delivered.
The Cleveland 19 Investigative Team tracked hundreds of alleged victims to 35 different states and Canada. According to court documents, there are at least 159 victims currently working with the Cleveland Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The agencies are conducting a joint investigation.
The arrest warrant issued on July 28 highlights the case of an Arizona mother of four, who previously told Cleveland 19 that she believes she is the biggest victim of Sbeih-Maddox's scam. Last fall, the woman purchased around $200 in goods from "Zee's Place," including a car seat. After receiving some items, she continued to purchase more products from Sbeih-Maddox, eventually spending more than $10,000. The items were never delivered.
The woman told police she made payments directly to Sbeih-Maddox through Amazon, PayPal and Money Gram.
In April, Sbeih-Maddox told the woman she was in Arizona to personally deliver the goods. She claimed that she was less than 3 minutes away from the victim's home. The victim waited, but Sbeih-Maddox never showed up.
Authorities searched Sbeih-Maddox's Quincy Avenue home last month and removed several new toys and baby items as evidence.
In a document filed Friday in Cleveland Municipal Court, Cleveland Financial Crimes Detective Joseph Daugenti states Sbeih-Maddox "has created financial hardships for many of these victims, and continues to use Facebook and defraud unsuspecting victims."
Last Wednesday, we reported that, despite being under investigation, Sbeih-Maddox was still selling goods on Facebook in local buy-sell-trade groups, and also on resale sites like Offer Up, Mercari, and Poshmark.
We went searching for Sbeih-Maddox today. There was no sign of her at her Quincy Avenue home.
We also paid a visit to the Cleveland home of Sbeih-Maddox's mother. The woman, who is not involved in the scam and says she is cooperating with police, told us her daughter moved out five years ago and the two haven't spoken since February.
Sbeih-Maddox's mother added that she would not hesitate to turn her daughter in to police.
Investigators have requested a high bond be issued once Sbeih-Maddox is in custody.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact police at 216-621-1234. Information can also be given to Crime Stoppers by calling 216-252-7463 or via text message: textTIP657 plus your message to Crimes(274637).