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Chicago Charade: Accused Serial Scammer Candace Clark Returns To Court

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Stories by the CBS 2 Investigators led to the arrest of Candace Clark, who is accused of scamming some of Chicago's most vulnerable people – and her case moved forward in court Thursday.

Added up, Clark is accused of conning people out of $469,000. Single moms and retirees were just some of the victims who watched their savings disappear.

She appeared before a judge Thursday.

The hearing was held over Zoom, and initially, the judge, prosecutor, and Clark's new attorney all thought she had skipped the hearing. This would have amounted to a violation of Clark's bond and potentially a warrant for her arrest.

Clark's new assistant public defender spent an hour trying to find her. It turned out that she had just gotten a new phone and did not know how to change the Zoom ID to her name – or to turn on audio to say she had been there the whole time.

At the hearing, Clark got a new attorney because her old assistant public defender was transferred. A judge gave the new attorney more time to get up to speed on her case.

Clark will return to court Oct. 6.

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 2020. After she made bail, the last time we saw her she was leaving court with her attorney Borjan Kovacevic.

Since then, Clark's case has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and also by her own actions. Last November, Clark fired attorney Kovacevic, with no explanation.

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