Wanted Cleveland Facebook scammer used moms' money to fund jet-set lifestyle: A Carl Monday investigation
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland woman accused of defrauding hundreds of moms out of close to $200,000 reportedly used the money to fund lavish vacations.
Zienup Sbeih-Maddox, 23, is currently wanted by the Cleveland Division of Police on charges of grand theft and telecommunications fraud.
According to sources close to the criminal investigation, Sbeih-Maddox visited Dubai, Italy and Mexico earlier this year, before a warrant was issued for her arrest. In addition to the international destinations, we're told she also traveled within the United States, including a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Sbeih-Maddox at Epcot in Florida (Source: Facebook)
We first exposed Sbeih-Maddox in a hidden camera investigation last May. She created a Facebook page called "Zee's Place", which she used to sell everything from baby items and household goods to vehicles and vacation packages at deep discounts.
Hundreds of women across the U.S. and Canada say they bought goods from "Zee's Place" but never received the items they purchased.
Many customers told us Sbeih-Maddox would often demand payment in the form of electronic gift cards, from retailers like Amazon, Target and Hotels.com.
Sources say investigators uncovered several airline and hotel records that confirm Sbeih-Maddox used the Hotels.com gift cards to bankroll her overseas excursions.
There is no evidence indicating Sbeih-Maddox is currently outside of the U.S.
Last month, our investigative team was there when Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police officers and federal agents raided Sbeih-Maddox's apartment at The Villages of Carver Park.
They are looking into whether Sbeih-Maddox defrauded CMHA by failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from her alleged scam that would have made her ineligible for public housing.
Records show she paid $78 per month for her two-bedroom unit.
Investigators removing evidence from Sbeih-Maddox's apartment (Source: WOIO)
Sbeih-Maddox could face charges for defrauding the federal government's food assistance program as well. Sources tell us she received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps.
Our stories about Sbeih-Maddox and her Facebook scam have been subpoenaed by the Cuyahoga County grand jury, who is scheduled the hear CMHA's housing fraud case next Monday.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continue their probe into the Facebook scam. In addition to Sbeih-Maddox, we're told a second suspect is also under investigation for their role in the operation, and faces possible indictment as well.
It is unclear if Sbeih-Maddox or the second suspect have been called to testify before the grand jury.
Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts of Zienup Sbeih-Maddox is asked to call Cleveland Police (216-621-1234), BCI (855-224-6336) or CMHA (216-426-7760).
Anonymous tips can also be phoned in to Crime Stoppers at 216-252-7463 or via text message. Text TIPS657 plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
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