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F&I alert!

November 22, 2010
Serial scammer bouncing checks at dealerships

Dealerships should be cautious about selling any vehicles to a 75-yearold woman from northwest suburban Algonquin who has harmed many area dealers by paying in full for cars using checks that bounce. Elizabeth "Betty" Gooch awaits trial in McHenry County April 19 for writing a bad check over $150, a felony, but she is free on bond. Elgin police Detective Mike Turner said he is aware of 10 thefts committed by Gooch, but there probably are more. "A lot of (dealers) don't report it. They just want to get their cars back." Turner said Gooch's "sweet old lady with a cane" manner belies her felonious penchant. Gooch and her daughter went on a similar spree three years ago, bouncing checks to obtain nine cars at seven dealerships from Crystal Lake to Elgin over a 12-month period. Gooch typically does not attempt to buy a car on her first visit to a dealership. Rather, she apparently visits several times before writing a check for the full price of the vehicle. "Then she asks you to wait a week or two to deposit the check, saying she has to transfer funds to the account," said one dealership employee. "She's in terrible health, but she fought detectives when they went to her house to get the cars back," Turner said.