Half a million disappears in alleged lost pet scam

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:

Arizona grand jury charges
filed in mid-October 1998 are reportedly
pending against Britney Lee Marx, 34,
who allegedly bilked six acquaintances out
of a total of $500,000 between January 1997
and January 1998 through a scheme to offer
cash rewards for missing pets under the
name Protect Animals Through Angels
[PATA, easily confused with PETA.] “One
of the victims, Dale Lumb, said in a lawsuit
he filed in May 1998 that he lost about
$400,000 to Marx, a former friend. She
denied his claims,” wrote Mark Shaffer of
The Arizona Republic. Shaffer identified
Marx as a former stage impersonator of
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, who
“changed her name from Cheryl Cusella in
1989,” after serving 38 days in jail and
drawing seven years on probation for two
counts of fraud resulting from allegations
that she defrauded investors while purportedly
promoting a Barbara Mandrell c o ncert
which never happened. Reportedly
ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution,
Cusella/Marx actually “paid about
$32,000, according to court records,” said
Shaffer, who added that she did actually
pay one $10,000 reward “to a woman who
found a lost poodle belonging to a friend of

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