MARKHAM, Ill. (WLS) -- An accused scammer who multiple Chicago area business owners say has conned them appeared in court Tuesday on a new fraud charge.
There is now a warrant out for the arrest of John Hancock related to a theft charge.
Hancock (yes, that's his real name) got out of jail a year ago after facing several accusations of fraud in the city of Chicago. He's now been accused of theft again, in three suburbs.
The 39-year-old was arraigned in Markham on a new fraud charge Tuesday. In November, Hancock was arrested for allegedly trying to buy $4,000 in products from a Markham plumbing supply company with a fraudulent credit card. During his arrest, he allegedly struck the arresting police officer.
In Lake County, there's a felony warrant out for him for theft and possession of stolen property from a Lake Zurich nursery.
And in Wheaton, Art and Joanna Wisniewski of Superb Carpets and Flooring said Hancock came into their store, also in November, and scammed them out of $36,000.
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"We would like to get the word out that you have to be super careful," Art Wisniewski said.
"It was a little bit weird because he wanted everything so fast, it was like he was rushing everything," added Joanna Wisniewski.
They said Hancock was at their store on five occasions to buy flooring materials, like this marble tile and hickory flooring.
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"He was asking if we have material in stock available because they are doing some rush jobs," said Art.
Each time, they say, Hancock paid with a credit card or a cashier's check using a different name.
"After a few days I saw on our bank account that one check is bouncing. So then I figured out, we in trouble," adds Art.
The Wisniewskis said all of the checks bounced and the credit card charges reversed because the credit card company told them the card was stolen. Wheaton's Deputy Chief of Police told the I-Team that the Wisniewskis identified Hancock in a police photo line-up. He has not been charged but police say they are investigating the claim.
"When we look on the video we see the same person," said Art.
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Hancock spent three years in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to theft when he deceptively obtained thousands of dollars' worth of art from a Wicker Park gallery.
He also pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing IDs and forging credit cards to buy thousands of dollars' worth of belts and shoes from Neiman Marcus, incidents which were captured on security video.
Hancock pleaded not guilty Tuesday on a Zoom hearing on the new fraud charge in Markham. The I-Team called Hancock's listed phone number and didn't hear back.
The I-Team also reached out to his public defender, who declined comment.