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Beware of Fundraising Schemes

A warning to trusting churches.

Last Reviewed: March 29, 2021

A married couple, both asylum refugees from Kenya, engaged in a four-year fraud scheme that targeted several Midwest churches. The couple represented themselves as siblings and told their victims that they were homeless illegal immigrants suffering from serious medical conditions, including malaria and tuberculosis, and that they had significant legal bills attendant to their immigration status. During the four-year period covered by the indictment, the couple netted more than $1.1 million in proceeds, including $815,000 from one church. Though the couple said they needed the funds for legal and medical bills and tuition, they used the money to maintain two apartments and gambled away nearly $1 million.

The couple was apprehended, and pleaded guilty to mail fraud. The husband was sentenced to 39 months' imprisonment.

There is little chance that any of the churches will recover their contributions ...

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  • November 1, 2011
  • Last Reviewed: March 29, 2021

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