A woman accused of bilking a Fayetteville man out of almost $300,000 while pretending to be country music star Alison Krauss was arrested Tuesday (Oct. 8) when she showed up for a scheduled appearance at Washington County Circuit Court.
Peggy Sue Evers, 52, had a court date set for Oct. 8 but had been a fugitive from the law since last month when she skipped out on a mental evaluation.
She now is set to appear before Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay on Nov. 21 on a previous felony charge of theft by deception, court officials said.
Since Sept. 18 police have been seeking Evers, who was set to undergo a mental evaluation on that day but did not show up, said David Bercaw, a Washington County deputy prosecuting attorney.
An arrest warrant was issued for Evers after she skipped out on the scheduled Sept. 18 mental evaluation with licensed psychologist Cara Hartfield, according to court papers.
Pending the results of that September mental evaluation, Evers, who was out of jail on bond, was supposed to appear in Washington County Circuit Court on Oct. 8. After skipping out on the mental evaluation, Evers was required to forfeit her $10,000 bond.
Even with a warrant out for her arrest for skipping the mental evaluation, Evers was expected to appear in court on Oct. 8 on the previous theft by deception charge, Bercaw said. If she did not show up for that court date, an additional felony charge of failure to appear would have been filed against her, Bercaw said.
Bercaw said on Oct. 7 that authorities in Northwest Arkansas suspected Evers fled to New Mexico after skipping out on her mental evaluation. Evers’ hometown is listed in court documents as Edgewood, N.M.
After being arrested at the courthouse on Oct. 8, Evers was booking into the Washington County Detention Center, where she is being held without bond while awaiting an Oct. 21 court hearing on violating the conditions of her bond.
In June, Evers was arrested and, at her arraignment days later, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of abuse of an endangered or impaired person. (She is pictured below at her arraignment before a magistrate at the Washington County Detention Center.) That charge was later changed to theft by deception, Bercaw said.
She was ordered by the Washington County Circuit Court to undergo a mental evaluation in the case after her lawyers said they would use mental disease or defect as a defense, according to court documents.
Police said Evers convinced a 75-year-old local man she was Krauss. During the time of the alleged crime, the man’s bank account fell from $45,000 to $5,000, and he signed his $245,000 house over to Evers, according to an arrest warrant affidavit in Washington County Circuit Court.
Fayetteville police began investigating Evers in April when First Security Bank officials contacted investigators, concerned because their elderly customer Don Fulton withdrew several thousand dollars within a few months, the affidavit states. Fulton’s son told a detective his father had recently met a woman online who the father believed was Krauss. Fulton had recently married Evers, and the son thought she might be taking financial advantage of him, according to the affidavit.
Fulton later told police he believed Evers was Krauss and that she had changed her name to escape the paparazzi. He also said he signed his home over to Evers so that she could put it in Fulton’s son’s name.
Investigators also found out that Evers had changed Fulton’s will to give her his money in the event of his death, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Evers gained control of Fulton’s home by alleging merit-less battery accusations against Fulton, police said.