by: Mike Petchenik Updated:ROSWELL, Ga. —
The director of North Fulton Community Charities tells Channel 2 Action News a former client of the charity is using its name to scam people out of money.
One victim, Steve Howard, told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik the man, who identified himself as Reggie, approached him a few weeks ago at a Chick-Fil-A on Highway 9 in Roswell with a sob story.
"His story was that he lost half of his foot," he said.
Howard said Reggie then explained how NFCC was helping him get into a jobs program and that he was late for an appointment and might miss his opportunity.
"I actually eat my meal and take him down to this place," he said.
But, when they arrived it was after hours, so Reggie said he couldn't get the help he needed.
"He starts crying and going into this very believable depth of sadness and despair about 'What am I going to do? I can't get this job,'" said Howard.
Howard told Petchenik he felt badly for the man, so he drove him to a MARTA stop and gave him money. He said he also left a message for NFCC's director explaining what happened. He was surprised to receive a return call from director Barbara Duffy, informing him the man's story was a hoax.
"Obviously, I'd like to see him off the streets," said Howard. "It's not a safe situation at all, no matter how you look at it."
Duffy told Petchenik she's aware of at least a dozen other people who have given money to the man.
"It's a very believable story, and it's worked repeatedly to put money in his pocket," she said. "I would just like our community to know to be careful."
Duffy said the man isn't directly asking people for donations for the charity, but after he tells his story, many have felt compelled to give.
"I think it's very sad when someone will take a charity's good name and use it to their advantage," she said.
Roswell police told Petchenik a detective has been assigned to investigate the claims.