Karla Sibert was sitting in an Iowa hospital waiting room when she got some shocking news.
"The doctor just said, 'It's okay, it's okay. It's not cancer, we didn't find anything bad,' and I said 'you have no idea what I have just been through.'" It turned out her it wasn't the physical health of her 82-year-old mother Marlene Sibert's that was in trouble.
"I had her cell phone with me...and that's when I intercepted some phone calls," said Sibert. One was from a salesperson with Leading Health Source, a Las Vegas-based nutritional supplements company, wanting to know how her mother was feeling and if her new pills were helping.
Confused at first, Karla Sibert played along, asking how many pills were ordered and how much they cost.
Skeptical about what she was being told, the younger Sibert, who has power of attorney over her parents' finances, whipped out her mother's credit cards and began calling the card companies to check recent activity. Altogether on three cards, she found $44,000 worth of charges from Leading Health Source for boxes and boxes of unopened pills and drops. The products claimed to address a variety of health issues such as dry eyes or memory loss.
Once her mother was out of surgery, Karla Sibert asked her what happened.
"She said there was just about $500 dollars that she OK'd on a credit card," she said. As a result, her mother "didn't remember doing it and doesn't remember it was of that magnitude."