HOUSTON – A Houston-area social media influencer who touted herself as an expert in how to land the perfect man pleaded guilty to tricking followers and acquaintances into fake real estate deals and was sentenced to five years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Thursday.
Ogg said Mikki Lynn Fox, 41, known on YouTube as lifestyle and dating consultant Michaela Pink as well as Summer Black, pleaded guilty to aggregate theft in the 179th District Court for swindling eight investors out of $136,624. The second-degree felony carried a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison, according to a news release sent by the district attorney’s office.
From March 2015 to July 2020, Fox allegedly lured people in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and California into different types of fraudulent real estate investments. Ogg said she scammed some of them locally, including parents whose children played baseball with hers and others had contacted her after seeing her online videos offering dating advice, investigators said.
“This defendant used her online platform to gain the trust of unsuspecting victims and steal tens of thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money,” Ogg said. “Thieves are crafty and clever in coming up with new ways to commit their crimes, and we will use every means at our disposal to stop them.”
Ogg said Fox would allegedly ask her targets to invest $35,000, for example, to help her buy a house to flip, and said it would sell quickly. Investigators said Fox promised to return their principal investment and a share of the profits. In the meantime, investigators said she would pay interest in tiny increments to keep the victims from suspecting anything was wrong.
“She was very charming. People would look her up online and say, ‘Oh, she is somebody.’ No, she just created that persona,” said Sheila Hansel, the assistant district attorney in the DA’s Office’s Consumer Fraud Division, who also prosecuted the case.
Hansel encourages anyone that is looking to invest with someone they don’t know to do extensive research and learn as much about the person as possible on their own. Then, she said you should have an attorney or real estate agent look over any paperwork beforehand.
“Don’t give strangers your money. And everyone you know only online is a stranger,” she said.