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Shelter scam lands woman in Ohio jail

– A woman wanted on charges she pretended to be the abused wife of a Pittsburgh police officer so she could stay at a battered women’s shelter is now jailed in Ohio on similar charges – this time claiming she was abused by a Columbus policeman.

In both cases, authorities contend, the officers didn’t exist and the abuse never happened, but shelter officials in both states learned that only after 33-year-old Amy Slanina benefited from weeks of free food and shelter.

The Associated Press reported this year that Slanina also has a history in several states of scamming female lovers, their families and others into showering her with attention and money by pretending to be pregnant – and claiming she wants them to help raise or adopt her baby. Ashland, Ohio, police Chief David Marcelli said Slanina had already contacted at least two women who hoped to adopt yet another fictional child while she was staying at the Ohio women’s shelter.

“She’s a real piece of work,” Marcelli told the AP.

“Basically, it’s the same scam she’s been running. She takes advantage of the confidentiality policies that these domestic violence shelters have, knowing they won’t press her for information, and she’ll get a free place to stay,” he said.