More victims come forward, accusing woman of identity theft

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - After our initial story aired about Pia Sims, a Memphis woman charged with identity theft and forgery, more people came forward to accuse Sims of duping them out of money or using their personal information for her personal gain.

Inside Happy Appliances on Millbranch, Yahaya Mbeyu is a not so happy store owner.  He said a woman named Heidi Jefferson bought $14,000 worth of appliances from him using a credit card, then canceled the charge but kept the appliances.

"I feel terrible, because I really trusted her," Mbeyu said. "We thought we were making money and that it was real money."

Anthony Elmore said Heidi Jefferson stiffed him on a $2,600 carpet install at her 5 Star Taxes business in Orange Mound.

"The sister girl ain't paid nothing," Elmore said. "Zonk.  Zero. Negative."

Mbeyu and Elmore both filed Memphis police reports and that's when they learned that Heidi Jefferson is really Pia Sims, a woman already facing criminal charges in Shelby County.

"I'll never forget her face," Diane Alexander said.

Alexander said she knew Pia Sims as "Tiffany," a woman she trusted to do her son Devonte's taxes.

"I told her I want you to get him up under your wing and take care of him every year," Alexander said.  "And yeah...she took care of him."

Diane said three of her son's last five tax returns were claimed by someone else.

And then there's Neesha.

"She asked for my names and my kids' social security numbers, because she said it's a deal with the IRS, they're giving away free money," Neesha said.

Neesha said Pia Sims never delivered any money last year.  Instead, this year Neesha said her tax return was stolen.

"I tried to file my taxes on the 15th, and I was told the taxes were already filed on the 6th," Neesha said.

During a phone interview with WMC Action News 5, Pia Sims denied being Heidi Jefferson, saying Heidi was a business partner from Chicago.

She said it was Heidi, not her, who handled the transactions with Mbeyu and Elmore.

Sims also said she wasn't an identity thief.

"I don't have to steal anybody's identity," she said.  "You know why?  Because they give their information to me.  I don't have to steal it.  They give it to me, I have consent to use."

But Sims' denials ring hollow to Neesha, Elmore, Mbeyu, and Alexander.

"She needs to pay the price for what she's done," Mbeyu said.

"She don't have a heart," Alexander said. "She's a python.  She's sucking people dry around here."

The Shelby County District Attorney's Office said Sims' next court date is April 3 to face charges she used someone else's identity to buy more than $10,000 worth of furniture.

Sims has another court date April 4 to face charges she rented an apartment using someone else's name.  Sims calls the accusations a "misunderstanding."

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.