Real Name: Unrevealed at air date
Aliases: Liza Montgomery
Wanted For: Fraud
Missing Since: December 1990
Details: In December 1990, a woman named Liza Montgomery went on an expensive and fraudulent Christmas shopping spree in Las Vegas. On Friday, December 21, she visited local businessman Mark Huseby, responding to his newspaper ad offering to sell an expensive mink coat and a 2-karat diamond ring. Although Mark asked for her to give him cash, she instead gave him a cashier's check, claiming that her bank had closed early. He asked for her identification to ensure that the check was legitimate. He thought it was, so he let her take the items.
Later that evening, she arrived at a jewelry store and purchased two rings that she had selected the previous week. Once again, she paid with a cashier's check, totaling $39,000. The next day, she purchased $23,000 worth of furniture, again using a cashier's check. She packed the furniture into an old, brown moving van. Throughout the weekend, she continued her Christmas shopping, always paying with cashier's checks. At nine different stores, she picked up $100,000 worth of jewelry, furs, and luxury items.
However, some people became suspicious of her purchases, especially Mark Huseby. Shortly after selling his coat and ring, Mark began to suspect that her check might be no good. He drove to a gated community, looking for the address printed on her identification card. When the security guard told him that the address did not exist, Mark went home and contacted the police. However, the police told him that they could not do anything until the bank received the check and determined that it was counterfeit.
Meanwhile, while at the furniture store, Montgomery had trouble fitting all of her new furniture into her van. The store owner offered to let her borrow one of their trucks, but she became belligerent, demanding that they fit everything in her van. After the van was loaded, the owner decided to follow it in his own car. When the van turned in a different direction from the address given, the owner told his wife to call the police.
Investigators were suspicious when they learned that Montgomery was involved in both incidents. They tried to locate and detain her. The furniture store owner had followed her van to a residential neighborhood five miles away. He watched as she exited the van and entered a red car, while a man entered her van.
The store owner then followed the van and red car, as the police tried to catch up with them. At an intersection, the van made an illegal right turn. Montgomery then got out of her car and tried to confront the store owner. He sped away, fearing that she had weapon. She then proceeded to follow him. After a three mile chase, the store owner pulled over to the side of the road. Montgomery drove past him and disappeared.
Police searched the area, but found no trace of Montgomery or the man with the van. Investigators believe that she later "bought" several slot machines. A few weeks later, her car and the van were recovered; both had been rented. Investigators learned that she had rented them using a cash deposit instead of a credit card. The rental agency gave police one clue: a copy of her identification card. To date, she remains at large.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 6, 1991 episode.
Results: Captured. Liza Montgomery was identified as Ellen Christine Juvera-Saiz with the help of an Oregon police officer who had seen the broadcast and was investigating a similar case. With her real identity, investigators were able to locate and arrest her in Hollywood, California.
She pleaded guilty to burglary and theft and served time in a Nevada State Penitentiary. After her release, she was later arrested and sentenced to prison in Colorado. She was released in October 2016.
- Ellen Juvera Offender Profile
- Ellen Juvera-Saiz v. Colorado Department of Corrections
- Ellen Juvera at Mugshots.com