Shameful fraud

Pair faces soliciting charges that, if true, mark a sickening low

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It was scurrilous and vile like any other scam, only more so.

Two people were arrested last week in Aiken, S.C., for seeking donations on a street corner for a funeral that turned out to be pure figment.

“Help Me burry (sic) My Mom!! Please Donate!!” the pair’s sign said. The sign included pink ribbons, the symbol of breast cancer.

It reportedly netted the couple hundreds of dollars – placed in children’s Halloween pumpkin baskets.

Police charged Kendra Lachell Morris and Zachary Lacasey Sims with soliciting without a permit and obtaining goods by false pretense.

Where to start with these two?

Maybe with the fact that no one’s mother had died. There was no impending or recent funeral.

“During questioning,” The Augusta Chronicle’s news report read, “Morris, 21, and Sims, 20, both of Augusta, gave police different names and funeral homes for the deceased ‘mom’ during interviews.

“Investigators contacted the funeral homes and found no one there by those names. One suspect later admitted it was a scheme to help them pay their bills ...”

So, even after being picked up, the two made officers go on a wild goose chase, hunting down a dead mother that never was.

That’s not the worst of it.

If the charges are true, then these two preyed upon the good hearts and good intentions of good Samaritans.

Worse still, they cynically tried to tug even further at heartstrings by using the pink ribbons to piggyback on the national outpouring for this month’s breast cancer awareness.

How low can one go?

What makes even young adults concoct a rationale that it’s in any way acceptable to steal other people’s money with such fraud? And to try to steal the good name of breast cancer awareness. Is there not an ounce of shame?

But such schemes don’t just relieve innocent travelers of their money; they also force the rest of us to view other solicitations with a jaundiced eye. And that can only diminish the fund-raising capabilities of legitimate causes.

Donors beware. Do not give money to solicitors and panhandlers. In Aiken, the law requires solicitors to obtain a permit. Ask to see it.

Even those who work in the rescue business will tell you that giving money to panhandlers isn’t all that advisable to begin with. At best, you’re subsidizing a life on the streets, and keeping someone from moving on in his or her life or seeking help from the myriad of government and private programs out there. Refer them to those.

At worst, you’re investing in the very substances and vices that keep people trapped in a dead-end lifestyle.

Or perhaps worse than that, you’re being had.

Comments (11) Add comment
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specsta
6046
Points
specsta 10/22/13 - 02:48 am
14
5
Bless This Mess

ACES wrote - "Donors beware. Do not give money to solicitors and panhandlers."

Agreed. Let's start with a few of these "masters of making a quick buck" masquerading as preachers.

Riverman1
78420
Points
Riverman1 10/22/13 - 04:51 am
17
0
It's not only the panhandler types

It's not only the panhandler types. There are also major charities that take in hundreds of thousands of dollars and do little but pay their executives exorbitant salaries. The shame should be equal in those cases.

Bulldog
1296
Points
Bulldog 10/22/13 - 06:34 am
6
1
Which ones?

Rivernman1, I don't disagree, but could you point out a few. I don't want to waste my money either.

rmwhitley
5508
Points
rmwhitley 10/22/13 - 07:07 am
0
0
This whole
Unpublished

mess kinda reminds me of the United Way and the manner they do business.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 10/22/13 - 07:31 am
7
1
So what happened to the money they collected?

Has anyone followed the money trail? I'll bet it was absorbed into the county general funds, and will later be given to some high rank as a bonus. This kind of crime doesn't just happen on the streets, you know. We live in a society that has many who have lost their moral values.

Riverman1
78420
Points
Riverman1 10/22/13 - 07:40 am
4
1
Bulldog, I've written before

Bulldog, I've written before about one particular local one. They've had a change of leadership and I'm giving them time. Email me if you want more info.

Bizkit
28347
Points
Bizkit 10/22/13 - 07:39 am
6
2
Yeah the petty criminals go

Yeah the petty criminals go to jail but with the white collar crimes-they get a raise.

willie7
899
Points
willie7 10/22/13 - 08:46 am
0
0
I wish the Chronicle would
Unpublished

I wish the Chronicle would write an editorial about Governor Deal and his many fraud deals----I waiting for the day to see it.

soapy_725
43527
Points
soapy_725 10/22/13 - 09:01 am
0
0
Family Y, UW, Feed the Children, Club 36, Samaritans Purse,
Unpublished

March of Dimes, PBS, Wounded Warriors, Angel Food, Haitian Orphans, Philippine Orphans, Goodwill, C.A. Dollar, Benny Hinn, Richard Roberts, Boys&Girl Scouts, Paine College Fund, NAACP, Police Benevolent Fund, Disabled Veterans, I didn't buy life insurance so pay for my funeral, will work for money, will work for gas, Pat Roberson, and any "send in the seed money" snake oil salesman or carnival hacker.

soapy_725
43527
Points
soapy_725 10/22/13 - 09:00 am
0
0
Anyone who cannot get 85% of collection to the source of need.
Unpublished

Anyone who cannot get 85% of collection to the source of need.

soapy_725
43527
Points
soapy_725 10/22/13 - 09:02 am
0
0
Kroger only keeps about 5% of what passes through their hands.
Unpublished

Kroger only keeps about 5% of what passes through their hands.

seenitB4
79593
Points
seenitB4 10/22/13 - 09:33 am
4
1
Like it you can keep it

THAT is the biggest lie of all....Most will be dropped from their present insurance....hold on folks cause it is coming.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 10/22/13 - 09:52 am
0
0
scurrilous
Unpublished

"making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation." The word is misused here.

dichotomy
29815
Points
dichotomy 10/22/13 - 10:06 am
3
1
Giving money to panhandlers

Giving money to panhandlers and street corner beggars is just stupid. You are just giving heroin to a drug addict, cheap wine to a drunk.

"charity" is BIG BUSINESS.....along with non-profits and not-for-profits. Check the salaries for the officers and employees. You won't believe what they are being paid and how LITTLE actually goes to helping anyone else. It's all a racket folks. It's not about helping others. They know how to enrich themselves by providing you a way to feel good thinking you are helping someone. You want to donate food to the Golden Harvest.....fine. Do that and keep your cash in your wallet. Check the salaries for all non-profits and not-for-profits. They are supposed to be public information. Augusta should publish that information every time they stick some of our local ripoffs onto our SPLOSTs (which, in my opinion should be illegal).

Bizkit
28347
Points
Bizkit 10/22/13 - 02:01 pm
1
2
I've been trying to Google

I've been trying to Google the average salary of a criminal in the US. I can't find the info-must be a secret. Wow it must be lucrative though because there are so many people going into it. Apparently if your not successful they send you to this hotel with free food and housing. You get to hang out with other unsuccessful entrepreneurs and figure out better ways to be successful at your craft.

harley_52
21850
Points
harley_52 10/22/13 - 02:21 pm
2
1
"Donors beware. Do not give money to solicitors and panhandlers"

Excellent advice, but we all ignore it every time we pay taxes.

There are no more consistent, predictable swindlers and fraudsters than many of those who work for government, especially (but surely not exclusively) the federal government.

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