East Texan shares story about alleged con woman

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - We are learning more about the con woman who law enforcement say ripped off several men and their families in East Texas. She is accused of using more than 30 aliases in at least three states. But, after running her fingerprints, Smith County sheriff's investigators believe her real name may be Juanetta Lantz. They say she is originally from Oklahoma.

Investigators say she lived luxuriously, preying on several East Texas men and their families, convincing them, and countless other victims, she was a trust fund baby, or an heiress to the Ford Motor Company with wealthy family in Ireland, a doctor, an FBI agent - you name it and she has made it up; each time with a different alias.

But this is the story Joseph Kubena heard:

"She was a interpreter," said Kubena. "[She said] that she got paid so much money every time she had to go to a airport or customs because she spoke seven different languages."

Kubena says he met Lantz and one of her victims last week in Jacksonville.

"[She was] acting real excited and everything because of her upcoming wedding," he said.

Kubena says he was shocked to learn it was all a sham, and feels sorry for the victims she has left emotionally and financially drained.

Investigators say a local oilman paid for her upscale Tyler apartment, promising she would reimburse him when her trust fund money came in.

"She just seemed genuine," said Kubena.

Since the 1980's, investigators say the phony heiress had been weaving her web through several states.

"If she told me, 'I've got this short term investment that would make a big turnaround real quick!' I would have bought it...that's how convincing she was."

Kubena says she was beautiful and pretended to be rich.

"Her personality and actions, she was real class," said Kubena. "She was showing her rock off. It had to be a 2- or 3-carat solitaire, it was huge."

Now, thanks to some good detective work by the Smith County Sheriff's Office, she has been caught in her twisted and tangled web, and is sitting in a jail cell.

One East Texan, who wanted to remain anonymous, says Lantz preyed on a single father out of Cherokee County.

The Smith County Sheriff's Department says they are still in the process of getting her extradited back to Oklahoma where she faces several charges.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.