COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Shopping online is quick and convenient, but sometimes risky. Tracey Lawson took that risk when she purchased a few items from a retailer on Facebook, Serape Llama, owned by Krista White, in February.
Initially, it paid off.
“I originally placed orders with her… I actually got my first couple of orders,” said Lawson.
But that wasn’t the case, when she ordered again.
“Starting in April, she started, she gave me a tracking number and told me it would mail the next week. And for four weeks in a row, she said that.”
Lawson tried to contact Krista for an update.
“But then she just basically blocks you from her page, and you can’t message her, she won’t reply to you,” said Lawson.
After several failed attempts, Lawson did a search, and found several complaints from Facebook users about Serape Llama and its owner.
So, she, and another woman, created a group for “Victims of the Serape Llama.” Nearly 2,500 people joined.
Blanca Reyes from Texas placed an order from Serape Llama on February 4.
“I’m out $350 with everything that I’ve ordered. I’ve never received one thing from her. No merchandise, nothing,” said Reyes.
And Pawnee Murray in Chillicothe ordered clothes for her sister, who was expecting a baby girl. That was back in 2016.
“I paid $300 plus shipping, for clothes that my niece never got.”
And there are so many others, with similar stories.
“That’s when I started doing checking and found out that this was a pattern of hers, that she had been doing it to a lot of people,” said Lawson.
In fact, Lawson found that Krista White was an alias, and the Serape Llama was one of many business names all connected to one woman: Amanda Atherton in Chardon, Ohio.
“Since our group has started, I know of three different business names and three different owner names that she claimed she was,” said Lawson. “Just like with Serape Llama, every now and then, she will actually send a package to someone. When we catch on and find it, we, actually will get on ‘beware’ pages and pretty much call her out on it, and usually within two hours, she’s deleted the page.”
Better Call 4 reached out to Atherton several times, but have not heard back.
Lawson says she, and other members of the Facebook group, have sent copies of their orders, invoices and conversations with Atherton to authorities in Geauga County. I spoke with the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office, who says an active investigation into Atherton is underway, looking into losses totaling six figures.
But for Lawson, Reyes and Murray, this is about more than a dollar amount.
“She can keep my money,” said Murray. “I just want her to go to jail and stop taking money from innocent people who work hard for their money and struggle.”
There is no word yet on where the investigation into Atherton currently stands.