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Chicago Charade: Accused Serial Scammer Candace Clark Appears In Court, Fires Attorney Without Explanation

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Remember Candace Clark, the accused serial scammer at the heart of many of our CBS 2 investigations?

She was back in court on Thursday. And as CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker reported, there was a new twist – the first thing Clark did was fire her attorney.

Because of the pandemic, Cook County courts are live-streamed over YouTube – so the judge and attorneys all appear on video. Clark's case was called around 10 a.m. – you'll have to imagine it, because the courts do not allow us to show the video.

But those who were present for the live stream saw Clark's bed. The entire time Clark was in virtual court, she was doing so from a messy bedroom – in what will come as no surprise from a woman who is full of theatrics.

When Tucker first met Clark, she was the star of a private ceremony where she was being sworn in as the new United Nations attaché. But it was all fake - the judge and the audience were mostly actors.

Over the course of many months, we discovered several fake ceremonies where Clark pretended to be sworn in as Illinois' new Director of Special Investigations. She had scammed actors, musicians, caterers, venue owners out of thousands of dollars.

The judge in the phony ceremonies was not really a judge – she was independent film actress Jamie Newell.

"It was all a fake, a hoax," Newell told Tucker in January.

We had evidence that Clark's deceptions dated back to her high school days. At Percy Julian High School in Chicago's Washington Heights neighborhood, classmates thought Clark was Miss Teen Illinois.

The real winner was Danielle Reese.

At one point, Clark pretended to be a counselor and was accused of swindling young mothers out of $3,600.

Clark also posed as a real estate agent and conned Darlene Simmons out of her entire retirement - $73,000.

"She's a devil," Simmons said last winter.

Our biggest discovery was Clark's housing scam. She loved renting big, expensive, beautiful homes - only she never paid for them.

Clark was evicted 23 times over 12 years. Altogether, we identified 86 people and companies that lost money to Clark, and when we added up the total, it came to a whopping $469,000.

After our series of reports, police arrested Clark in January. After she made bail, the last time we saw her she was leaving court with her attorney Borjan Kovacevic.

Clark fired Kovacevic on Thursday, with no explanation.

When the judge asked Clark if she wanted a court-appointed attorney, she said no and said she would have a new attorney in two weeks.

The next court date was set for Dec. 2.

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