SALISBURY — A hairstylist charged with stealing thousands of dollars from a longtime client avoided jail time earlier this week after being charged with fraud.

Tanya Mills, 45, of Market Street, Amesbury, admitted on Monday in Newburyport District Court that a judge or jury could find her guilty of credit card fraud over $1,200 by a merchant.

Instead of sentencing her to jail, Judge Peter Doyle continued the charge for 18 months. If Mills stays out of trouble with the law during that time, the charge would be dropped. 

In his report, Salisbury police Officer Juan Guillermo said Mills charged a client $5,045 for a hair appointment at a Beach Road salon in September 2019.

"(The victim) said to me she never approved this amount of money to be charged to her credit card," Guillermo wrote in his report.

The victim was expecting a charge of $180 when she handed her stylist of about six years her credit card only to find out weeks later that she had been charged thousands of dollars.

Before reporting the theft to police, the woman tried to reach Mills and clear up the matter.  After a series of texts were ignored, the victim went to the studio and spoke to Mills.

Mills told the woman she was unaware of the charge and denied receiving any text messages. The woman then went to the police station to report the incident.

Guillermo visited the salon a few days later and was told by an employee that Mills had been fired from the salon based on the overcharging incident.

Guillermo called a cellphone number for Mills and left a voicemail. When Mills did not call him back, the officer filed a credit card fraud charge against her, Guillermo wrote in his report. 

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