“Art Schlichter conned millions of dollars from me. I lost my home, my car, and I had to file bankruptcy. I also lost my family and friends,” says Anita Barney, who was married to the CEO of the fast-food chain Wendy’s.
The 73-year-old, who lived a lavish lifestyle, claims Schlichter, a former Ohio State and NFL quarterback, duped her out of $3 million and forced her to scam friends and employees out of $500,000. According to reports, the money was going to be used to buy tickets for football games, and the investors could make large profits. Many people wonder if Anita was a co-conspirator or a victim.
In an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil, Anita shares her side of the story.
Anita claims when Schlichter first asked her to borrow money, he asked for $10,000 so he could buy a car to visit his estranged daughters. But she says she was quickly writing him checks for $25,000 to $30,000 and then $100,000. She eventually got a reverse mortgage on her house for $185,000, she claims at Schlichter’s request, and says she didn’t keep any of the money for herself.
“In less than one year, he had swindled me out of $3 million,” she says.
Anita says Schlichter told her that he needed the money to pay back people, and even claimed that the mafia broke his ribs and they would come after her and possibly her family if she didn’t help get the money to pay them. She also claims that one time when she asked Schlichter what he was doing with the money, he told her, “‘I can’t tell you. If I tell you, I have to kill you.’” Anita says this left her afraid to tell anyone of the situation because of the possible repercussions from Schlichter.
After Anita’s funds ran out, she claims Art encouraged her to call her friends and ask them for money, and she was given over $300,000. “I believed my friends would get their money back, and I was very excited about that because I was going to make my friends money -- never dreaming he was lying, never,” Anita shares. “I feel so guilty.” She adds, “I’m the worst victim. They think they’ve lost a lot; I’ve lost everything -- my reputation, my friends and my family.”
Why did Anita continue to give Schlichter money once he didn’t pay her back? Was she in love with him and did they have a romantic relationship? In the video above, she tells Dr. Phil about her personal relationship with Schlichter and addresses the accusations that she was really behind the scam. And, would Anita loan Schlichter money again? Watch more from this episode of Dr. Phil.