Contact 2: Charity Scam Charges
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO. (KTVI) – In a Contact 2 follow-up, warrants have been issued for a University City man. Authorities allege he was connected to a charity that stole money from consumers. We first told you about G.O. Incorporated last winter. The Better Business Bureau took about 20 complaints related to this organization. University City and St. Louis County police got involved and the St. Louis County prosecutor issued warrants for 41 year old Wilis Fleming Jr. He faces three counts of felony stealing for his role in the alleged scheme. Chris Thetford says the BBB first alerted the public in early December 2011.
‘The Better Business Bureau looked into it and we couldn`t even find a charity under that name. And couldn`t find any records of that name and became suspicious of their activity.’
People like Joyce White were looking for help with rent, mortgage or utility bills.
‘You have to be behind on your mortgage payment first of all. And will assist you twice a year, will accept cash or money order in the amount of 250 dollars and leave the “Pay To” area blank. ‘
The offer from “G.O. Incorporated” spread fast via word of mouth. Consumers were told payments would be made on their outstanding bills. Unfortunately the bills never got paid. And Thetford says that`s not good.
‘Particularly because of the way people are struggling and do need help, people legitimately do need help, but then to claim that you are a charity, and that you`re there helping them makes it even worse.’
But when you’re trying to stretch a dollar the offer sounded like a great idea to White and many others.
‘I was ready to call everyone I know. This is a great organization. It`s going to do this and this and this and help.’
Thetford tells consumers to be wary of groups telling you they`re a charity but turn around and ask you for money to help you with your money problems. Joyce says she`s learned a valuable lesson.
‘I am hoping that he is prosecuted to the fullest of the law. And maybe I can get my 250 dollars back. But if not, like I said, never again. A lesson learned the hard way.’
If you or someone you know has been victimized by G.O. Inc contact the St. Louis County police. Call Contact 2 with your consumer issues. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11am and 1pm. The number is 800 782-2222.