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Chatham fugitive found in Vegas casino

JOHN HERBERT, Free Press Reporter   2004-01-14 03:49:53  

A fugitive Chatham woman, spotted by one of her victims selling hand lotion in a Las Vegas casino, is behind bars -- awaiting extradition to face fraud charges stemming from selling land plots on the moon. Lisa Fulkerson, 32, could be returned to Chatham next week, FBI special agent Todd Palmer said yesterday.

She was arrested at the Aladdin Resort and Casino last Friday by a special fugitive task force.

The former Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce director and entrepreneur of the year, faces nine criminal charges, including fraud and theft of $600,000 from the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Fulkerson skipped town in November after missing a court date. Chatham-Kent police would not disclose how Fulkerson was located or arrested.

A Chatham woman visiting Vegas, who had invested money with Fulkerson, apparently saw her selling lotion at a kiosk in a large shopping area in the casino. The woman also saw Fulkerson's husband, Ron, at the casino.

Palmer said it was his guess Fulkerson was spotted by somebody she knew, who then tipped the FBI. "I won't comment exactly on how we got her, but we did get a tip,'' he said. "She was working in a shopping area, but not for the casino. We have no charges down here. She spent the weekend in jail and appeared before a magistrate judge on Monday when the provincial charges were read.''

The whereabouts of the couple's two children remains unknown, but Palmer said "she has family in town.''

The once-prominent businessperson made her name in Chatham selling novelty land plots on the moon. Fulkerson owned Moon Land Registry, through which she bought some lunar real estate to sell in Canada. At first, customers lined up for hours to snap up one-acre plots for $10 each. Former business partner Dennis Hope, based in Nevada, said in the the first days of her operation, she brought in $400,000, but he never saw the money.

Canadians who bought their celestial soil from Fulkerson were supposed to get to stake their claim when Hope transported the "official lunar property registry'' to the moon on a special space mission.

Hope said he has never received one registered property owner from Fulkerson.

The whispers around Chatham were that millions of dollars from more than 50 investors vanished with Fulkerson, people she convinced could make millions in her moon real estate company.

Charges against Fulkerson include assault, possession of counterfeit currency, using counterfeit money, uttering a forged document and four counts of breaching a court order and one of leaving Ontario.

Fulkerson is well-known in Chatham for her business interests. She was the founder and president of Virtual Connections Network Inc., an Internet service provider whose client base was bought last fall by a local competitor.

Fulkerson also owned the Gift Attic store.

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