Last week, authorities said a Clarksville woman duped businesses by claiming to be collecting money for St. Jude while actually keeping the cash. Now, reports coming in to police are suggesting this woman's operation could go far beyond Montgomery County.
Since the story broke, Montgomery County Sheriff's Department officials said they've received 35 calls about Zara Haltom.
"She'll get it, what's coming to her," said Clarksville mom Lisa Henley. "I just hate it that it took this for this to happen."
Haltom is a hard subject to discuss for Henley.
"Don't use a kid who has cancer," said Henley. "There's so many children out there who need help."
Henley said last August, Haltom came to her workplace at H&H Heating and Air in Clarksville. Once inside, Henley said Haltom claimed to be a worker for St. Jude who was collecting money for a sick girl in Clarksville named Libby.
"She had been at St. Jude for a while and had cancer," said Henley, remembering Haltom's story about Libby. "We felt we were doing the right thing by helping the child out because we're always wanting to help anybody out."
Sheriff's officials said they're not sure there ever was a Libby, and Haltom did not work for St. Jude. Since Haltom's arrest last week, reports of her taking money from businesses while claiming to work for St. Jude have come out of Montgomery, Stewart, Dickson, and Todd counties. Authorities said the calls are the same; Haltom asked for checks to be written directly to her and would always have donating businesses sign a card for the sick child.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Department said about 15 businesses have decided to prosecute Haltom so far. They believe out of those businesses, Haltom took about $750. They're expecting more businesses to come forward.
"We're really willing to help anybody," said Henley. "At this point, by getting scammed like that, you can't do it anymore. She will get what's coming to her. Not maybe from us or anybody here, but the good Lord above will take care of her."
Sheriff's officials add, Haltom sometimes went by the name of 'Zara Rogers', and on at least one occasion, pretended to work for the Ronald McDonald House. Officials in Dickson County said they are looking for help in finding businesses hit by Haltom. If you have any information for Dickson County investigators, please call 615-740-4870.
Oklahoma native Blake Shelton is the first entertainer to announce a benefit for tornado victims in his home state.More >>