Woman Allegedly Befriended Victims to Steal Thousands of Dollars From Them

Vicheka Ly supposedly told pals she was close with LeBron James and Jeremy Lin.

ByABC News
November 19, 2014, 10:09 AM

— -- A Salem, Oregon, woman went from best friend to frenemy after friends and family say she stole thousands of dollars from them.

Vicheka Ly, 24, is currently in custody at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California, without bail. Ly, who calls herself Vee, is facing charges of theft, identity theft, and forgery and could be extradited back to Oregon to face the charges. She is accused of befriending people throughout Oregon and then stealing their cash , credit cards, and their trust.

One of Ly’s alleged victims is aspiring pastry chef Taylor Nunes, 22, who said she became friends with Ly after meeting her at a fundraiser event in Portland last spring.

“[She said], ‘Oh, your hair is so beautiful. Oh, I love your dress. Oh, your skin is so nice. Oh, you’re just so pretty. Oh, I just want to be just like you. You’re so sweet,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s like a lot of compliments,’” Nunes told “20/20.”

Nunes said Ly had money to take her shopping and hinted she was close with famous people.

“[She said] she’s best friends with LeBron James and a bunch of different basketball players ... movie stars,” Nunes said.

Nunes said Ly was constantly there for her, including when Nunes’ beloved dog died. “I thought I could trust her,” Nunes said.

Not long after they met, Nunes said Ly picked out an apartment for the two of them to share. But Nunes said Ly told her she didn’t "have rental history so her name couldn’t be on the lease.”

Soon after, Nunes said $400 of unfamiliar charges turned up on her credit card, and her expensive hair straightener went missing. Then, on a shopping run together, Nunes said Ly flashed a large amount of cash.

“She’s buying like $2,000 worth of bedroom and house stuff, like towels. We were at the cash register, and she was going through her wallet,” Nunes recalled. “And I just kind of looked over, and she opened it up. And there was just ... so much money in there.”

Twenty-four hours later, Nunes said she checked the secret hiding place in her bedroom where she kept her cash and other personal documents and discovered many things had been stolen.

“She went through all my belongings when I wasn’t home and stole my Social Security card, debit cards, PIN numbers and stole $13,000 cash,” Nunes said. “It was how I was paying my rent. It was how I was paying my car insurance. It was how I was paying food, paying my heat. I knew that it was her who had to have taken it.”

Nunes said she confronted Ly about the stolen money and she denied taking it. A few days later, Nunes said Ly took off, telling her she was heading to Los Angeles.

Nunes went to the police, who checked a series of unsolved cases and found that it wasn’t the first time Ly had been accused of stealing from her friends.

Leilani Gutierrez, 25, said she met Ly six years ago in Hillsboro, Oregon, when she was a frequent customer at the grocery store where Gutierrez worked. They became best friends and Ly attended her wedding, but this past May, Gutierrez said Ly took her passport and credit card and went on a 36-hour shopping spree.

“I checked my bank account online, and it was, ‘What are all these charges?’ American Eagle, H&M, Albertson’s, some clubs, cab rides. She tried to buy … 13 airline tickets. She tried to charge $8,000, and that was one day,” Gutierrez told “20/20.”