LYNDHURST — A Howell woman is accused of scamming a hair stylist out of over $600 and police say it's not the only time the suspect pulled such a stunt.

Lyndhurst police Sgt. Vincent Auteri told New Jersey 101.5 that Christina Riccardelli went into Hilights Salon on Dec. 4 for a style and color and tried to use a gift card to pay the $632 bill. When the card was rejected while processing, Riccardelli told the stylist she would get a debit card from her car to make payment, according to Auteri.

Instead, Auteri said, Riccardelli drove off without paying her bill and police were called by the salon staff.

Auteri said that a woman matching Riccardelli's description also used "bad" cards while purchasing gasoline for her vehicle at two different gas stations over two days, prompting his department to issue a warning to other law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, Police in Wayne said Monday that a credit card recently used by Riccardelli at Delta and Exxon gas stations had been stolen from a hair salon where Riccardelli had just started working in the Passaic County community.

She was charged with theft of the credit card as well as $100 cash from another employee's purse at that salon, Wayne police said.

Riccardelli appeared in municipal court for both Lyndhurst and Wayne on Friday.

She faces charges in both places for theft of services and unlawful use of a credit card, police said.

Stylist Tricia DiFranco posted about the incident on her personal Facebook page that Riccardelli was "desperate" for a coloring and DiFranco said she stayed six hours after her assigned hours to complete the job.

"As a service provider and small business owner, it is tremendously disheartening to be taken advantage of and disrespected," DiFranco said in the Dec. 7 Facebook post.

DiFranco said that during their time together, she had bonded with Riccardelli when the client said she was a cosmetologist who had attended the Paul Mitchell Institute in Brick.

A Youtube account that appears to be in Riccardelli's name has posted several videos over the past five months, all of Riccardelli endorsing "Clout Pay." The website, which has since changed its name according to Payspace Magazine, is the subject of numerous blog posts voicing concern about the "easy money" promise for social media users.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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