Months after disappearance, arrest warrants issued for Buckhead therapist

Colleen Higgins apparently disappeared last spring after supposedly talking people who trusted her into loaning her money.

People who describe themselves as her victims say she took advantage of them by gaining their trust and then persuading them to hand over huge sums.

When she didn't repay the money, some of them sued and went to the police. The Atlanta Police Department then began trying to figure out whether a crime had been committed.

Police said back in June that it was not illegal to default on a loan but that they needed to determine whether Higgins defrauded her clients.

On Tuesday, an Atlanta detective filed eight warrants for Higgins' arrest.

The warrants, which were logged into the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk's computers, are for theft by deception.

The detective who filed them, Jeff Owens, could not be reached for comment, and a spokesman for the police department would offer no information on the case.

By last spring, Higgins' office phone was disconnected and her condo was in foreclosure.

Stephen Weber is among those who say they were scammed by Higgins. He said he hasn't heard from her in months and that he believes she left Atlanta. He was relieved that police are actively pursuing her. "I'm glad it didn't die on the vine, which is what I feared in June," he said.

Weber said he and his wife loaned a seemingly desperate Higgins $50,000 in 2008. The cash came from the college funds for their three boys, aged 11, 9, and 7.

He said Higgins and his wife had been friends for three decades and that Higgins was the godmother of their youngest boy.

He said Higgins told them she needed the money to pay legal fees in an ongoing lawsuit that was supposed to end in a big settlement for her.

Despite their reservations, Weber said, he and his wife agreed to loan Higgins the money. He's not calling it a loan anymore though.

"I don't believe there was a legal case," he said. "I believe that was a big fat lie."

Weber said he hopes Higgins is caught "sooner rather than later ... before she spends it all."

He added that he doesn't want to see her go to prison. He'd rather see her come out of hiding and set up repayment plans for everyone: "I want her to get back on a track," he said.

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