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How A Con Artist Stole More Than A $1M From TV Personality Joumana Kidd While Working As Her Personal Assistant
“She worms her way into your life and then she steals everything that you have,” an investigator said of Tracii Show Hutsona.
When divorced TV personality Joumana Kidd relocated her family to Los Angeles shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she was going to need some help.
“We made the move out here but I did have to do radiation and some other treatments and they were extremely exhausting,” Kidd told CNBC's “American Greed.” “So being that my kids didn’t have driver’s licenses, you know, they were just in a brand-new place, I thought ok, I need an assistant.”
Kidd—who was once married to retired NBA star Jason Kidd—thought she found the ideal candidate, a woman named Tracii Show Hutsona.
Hutsona had become an influencer in her own right through her self-produced YouTube show “Homeless Millionaires,” which chronicled her experience running a luxury concierge company with her husband Derrell Hutsona, a former pro football player.
Hutsona was often jetting off to exotic locales as she helped her clients gain access to a world of luxury and exclusivity.
While she seemed a bit over-qualified to be Kidd’s personal assistant, Hutsona jumped at the chance to work with the actress and TV reporter.
“I honestly thought I was winning. I was like ‘Wow like I’ve got this great person, whose just so worldly,’” Kidd said.
But Kidd would soon learn just how much she was allegedly losing—more than a million dollars of her own money—by hiring Hutsona, a serial con artist with a long rap sheet.
Hutsona was charged in a New York federal court in February of 2021 with wire fraud and identity theft after prosecutors alleged she used her position as a personal assistant “to funnel money” from Kidd’s banking accounts, including her children’s college saving accounts, to fund her own lavish lifestyle, according to the Department of Justice.
“Tracii is very good at gaining people’s trust, blending in and then taking all the money,” Gabrielle Bluestone, a journalist who wrote about the story for The New York Times, told “American Greed.”
While continuing to operate her luxury concierge company, Hutsona and Kidd agreed that Hutsona would provide “part-time” personal assistant services, which she would bill through her company Elite Lux Life, Bluestone reported in The New York Times.
The arrangement had its advantages for Kidd. She’d pay the company directly and didn’t have to give her social security number or other personal information to anyone. But there was also a distinct advantage for Hutsona. Kidd never ran a background check on her new assistant.
If she had, she would have discovered that Hutsona had been arrested in 2007 on charges of identity theft and wire fraud and was ultimately sentenced to more than six years behind bars. She also had past arrests going back more than a decade for writing bad checks, forgery and trying to fraudulently obtain a credit card in someone else’s name.
Without that knowledge, Hutsona soon became a dependable fixture in Kidd’s life—even described by her daughter in one episode of “Homeless Millionaires” as a “second mom” figure.
“She was the other person who cared a lot about my kids,” Kidd recalled to “American Greed.” “That’s where she really started to play a role in my life.”
Kidd began to get the first indication that something might not be right in the summer of 2018, when her financial advisor cautioned her that she was spending too much money each month.
“I couldn’t seem to shave it off and then like a couple months would pass and he’s like ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ and I’m like ‘nothing,’” Kidd said.
He specifically mentioned a credit card from Chase, but Kidd knew she didn’t have a credit card from that financial institution.
She casually mentioned the concerns from her financial advisor to Hutsona, who soon showed up at Kidd’s home in tears, allegedly confessing that she had opened the credit card in Kidd’s name and stolen more than $300,000 from her.
Despite the betrayal, Kidd decided to forgive Hutsona and worked out an agreement of how she could pay her back without ever involving law enforcement.
“She didn’t show any traits of a criminal, she really showed traits of someone who was very apologetic and, you know, hard on themselves, so I said, ‘Just listen, you made a mistake, but you’re not a bad person,’” Kidd remembered.
They drafted a contract, which they both signed, and Hutsona began making payments on what she owed, while she continued to work as a personal assistant for Kidd.
Kidd believed the arrangement was working well but after mentioning the agreement to her therapist, her therapist encouraged her to report what happened to her financial advisor.
When she did, Kidd got another unwelcome surprise. Hutsona had allegedly continued to steal from her, opening multiple accounts in Kidd’s name.
Kidd was unaware of the accounts because Hutsona had allegedly forged a power of attorney form which put herself as the main holder of the accounts and moved Kidd into a secondary position. She also allegedly hacked into Kidd’s email account and adjusted the settings so that any email from certain financial institutions or containing specific keywords were sent directly into her trash, allowing her to continue the con unnoticed.
“It was a full-time gig. It wasn’t something like she did and then didn’t do, it was definitely like a morning to night thing for her,” Kidd said of the level of deception.
The scheme destroyed Kidd’s credit, giving her a credit score of just 400. Hutsona also allegedly stole money from the college fund Kidd had set up for her children.
In the summer of 2019, Kidd and her financial advisor decided to hire a specialized team of financial investigators to delve into the theft and determine just how much money had been stolen.
It wouldn’t be an easy task. Since Hutsona had operated as Kidd’s personal assistant, investigators had to determine what charges were fraudulent and what charges were legitimate purchases she had made in her role as an assistant.
Hutsona allegedly tried to hide many of her own personal charges by using the same companies as Kidd, whether it was using the same health insurance company or shopping at the same grocery store.
“She was very good at trying to mimic a lot of Joumana’s purchases so they wouldn’t be red flags,” Julie Schwartz, an investigator T&M Protection Resources, told “American Greed.”
To help them lay out their case, the investigators pored through episodes of “Homeless Millionaires” to match Hutsona’s activities in the show with charges made on Kidd’s accounts.
“She worms her way into your life and then she steals everything that you have,” Schwartz said.
In total, they estimated that Hutsona fraudulently charged close to $1.5 million and allegedly stole another $1.5 million from Kidd’s banking accounts.
Using Kidd’s money, Hutsona opened a restaurant called “Breakfast Bitch” and funded a lavish Las Vegas bachelorette party, the financial investigators allege.
Once they had built their case, Kidd and her investigators presented the case to federal prosecutors in New York in 2019.
Although the case was delayed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Hutsona was eventually arrested in February of 2021 for wire fraud and identity theft after prosecutors said she stole $1.4 million from Kidd.
In July of 2022, Hutsona, who is currently out on bond, pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, although the exact terms of the deal are still unknown. She’s scheduled to be sentenced in early 2023.
“I do hope she has a very lengthy sentence, simply to protect people,” Kidd said.
To learn more about Hutsona's past, tune in to "American Greed" Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.