|Nydia Luz Vega (aka Nydia Vega Reeves, Nydia Neubauer, Lucy George) passport photo|
Nydia Neubauer, an alleged check bouncer, is behind bars at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold, N.J., as a “fugitive from justice” on $100,000 bail, according to a prison spokesperson.
Neubauer was taken into custody by the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 19, and according to the prison, her listed aliases include “Lucy Micheals,” and “Lucy Micheals George”.
Upper Southampton Township Police Chief Ron MacPherson confirmed that his department was notified of her arrest by New Jersey police because she was identified as the “Lucy George” sought in an outstanding arrest warrant issued by his department. Southampton police subsequently requested on Aug. 30 that she continue to be detained in the Freehold prison in connection with a fraud case involving a limousine company.
A woman using the “Lucy George” name appears to have operated for at least several weeks this spring in New Hope and Lambertville, N.J., allegedly writing bad checks and occupying a $995,000 townhouse at 42 W. Mechanic St. (below) in local builder George Michael’s Canal Street development in New Hope, according to neighbors, alleged victims and law enforcement officials.
The “Lucy George” alias is one that two local jewelers have come to know well.
Dimitri Politicos, owner of Lambertville, N.J. jewelry store Dimitri Designs at 41 Bridge St., said by phone from Greece that he had been taken for $50,000 in merchandise after being given a rubber check from a “Lucy George” around the same time. While at first suspicious of such a large amount, the jeweler claims she reassured him by referring to “expensive homes” she had “bought” from George Michael.
George Zykos, who owns a jewelry store at 34 S. Main St. in New Hope, told a similar story. Two checks accepted from a “Lucy George” in exchange for merchandise later bounced, he said. After contacting her repeatedly to complain, she returned to his store on June 13 and charged more than $42,000 to an American Express card imprinted with the name “Lucyluz George Jr,” claiming to be a second cardholder. Like the incident in Lambertville, she again used Michael’s name, saying he “would back her” financially, said Zykos.
A spokesperson for Michael declined comment on this story.
An American Express receipt shown to this reporter bore the approval date of June 14 with the name “Lucyluz George Jr” and a charged amount of $42,589.30. Zykos says the card was cancelled the following week and he remains unpaid. An American Express spokesperson declined comment on the incident.
New Hope resident Harry Snavely says a woman calling herself “Lucy George” attended an art gallery opening in New Hope in May.
“She plopped down in a chair and announced to the room, ‘My husband just died and I have $200 million,’” Snavely said.
Snavely claims that she is the same woman who lived in New Hope some 30 years ago under the alias “Nina de Vega.”
A passport photo (above) obtained by this reporter from an alleged victim in New York City who requested anonymity bears the name “Nydia Luz Vega.” Three drivers for a limousine service used by “Lucy George” identified her as the individual depicted in the photo, as did the owner of the art gallery where Snavely says he saw her in May, and a neighbor.
“Lucy George” is described by neighbors as a blonde-haired woman who frequently wore sunglasses, and was approximately 5-feet, 4-inches tall and weighed around 160-170 pounds. Neighbors also say she lived and traveled with two small dogs and another woman, whom she introduced as her maid. The entourage appeared in New Hope in May and departed by the end of June.
Interestingly, “Nydia Neubauer” is an alias used by Nydia Vega Reeves, a “con queen” from New York City according to an April article in the New York Post, who said Reeves had been “dishing out bad checks and renting luxury apartments without paying” since arriving at a plush New York City hotel with two small dogs.
The article also reported that Reeves “is said to owe a California-based real-estate developer nearly $50,000 and New York real-estate adviser Paul Ippolito about $60,000. Reeves, 62, who claims she grew up with Ralph Lauren and inherited $100 million from her late husband William Reeves, was exposed in 2002 after writing bad checks under the name of ‘Nydia Neubauer’ to Denise Rich’s cancer research charity.”
Aside from Upper Southampton, prison and police officials involved in Neubauer’s detention also say New York City authorities are currently seeking her extradition. The New York City Police Department declined to comment.
According to a limousine industry association column in the August edition of Black Car News, “Ms. Reeves most recently conned a number of Pennsylvania Businesses this month going by the name ‘Lucy George.’ Among those businesses were limousine companies, jewelers and real estate developers.”
New Hope Police Chief Mike Cummings acknowledged that his department is actively investigating alleged incidences of confidence fraud involving the writing of bad checks.
“Several people in town have been victims,” he said. “As the investigation is ongoing, I can’t provide further details at this time.”