Residents want investigation into alleged furniture bank scam

Updated:

ATLANTA - Several metro Atlanta residents are asking police to intervene after they say a former social worker tricked them out of hundreds of dollars.
   

The women told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas that they were promised money as winners of a lottery the woman claimed was drawn for the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta.
 
The woman, who founded a charity registered with the state of Georgia, called the women, then met them to have them sign consent forms so the money could supposedly be deposited into their accounts. But at least three people said money was withdrawn from their accounts and the deposited checks bounced.

Channel 2 did not identify the woman because she has not been charged.
 
Vivan Strange said she knew the woman as a volunteer who helped her get furniture from the Furniture Bank several months ago. Strange said she didn't think twice when the woman called her saying she had won the money.
 
"She came and picked me up from my house," Strange said.

"Because my daughter dealt with her in the past and I know the furniture bank, I thought it was legitimate," said Strange's mother, Yolanda Mohama.
 
The mother and daughter said they signed a consent form for the money to be deposited into their account and a short time later, a $2,500 check was deposited and a $300 advance taken.
 
"She endorsed it with my signature which is not my signature. I didn't sign it," Mohama said.
  
Another victim filed a report with Clayton County Police Department, saying she received a similar call from the same woman. She said she met her in the parking lot of Clayton County Division of Family and Children Services, gave her her financial information, and then just a few days later noticed her bank account was overdrawn.

She said several other people met the woman at the same time, believing they were winners, too.

Thomas tracked down the woman in question.

She refused to talk on camera but released this statement.

"My organization’s sole purpose is to provide charity to those in need. We intend only to assist the community, not taint or diminish it in any way. As we have been since 2010, in which year our organization was founded as a Georgia non-profit. We are absolutely disappointed in the outcome of our charitable effort and we are working tirelessly to correct any error on our part. We counted our eggs before they hatched and thus disappointed our clients. For this, we are working diligently with all parties involved to correct. However, we work on donations alone and we were as an organization, promised funds we didn't receive. Thus making promises to pay funds we never knew would be unreceived. We apologize to all involved and vow to have this matter resolved as expeditiously as possible."
 
The Georgia Department of Human Services said the woman in question did work for Family Services in 2009 for less than two months before she was terminated.



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