Shelter Targeted in Fundraising Scam

Ryan Carter
April 14, 2011

A group calling itself Children and Family Services is calling and sending checks to local domestic violence shelter organizations in what has been described as a “possible fundraising scam.”

Earlier this week, My Sister’s House, a Fayette County domestic violence shelter, received what was described in a letter as a “gift of $250 on behalf of the donors and staff of CFS.”

The letter went on to say, “Keep up the outstanding work. If your shelter is in need of more financial support, CFS gives out 500$ grants on a monthly/quarterly/biannual/annual time frame based on contributions received to our non-profit organization. To be eligible please fill out the application enclosed and mail to CFS in your own envelope.”

The address listed on the letter for “Children and Family Services” is 6457 Glenway Ave. Suite 153, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211, however, the postage stamp is from Pensacola, Fla. The president of this organization is listed as Gary R. Tomey II.

According to an article from Alabama.com, an organization headed by Tomey, which is actually based in Milton, Fla., has been using the names of several organizations without permission. Domestic violence shelters in Alabama have also been contacted by the organization.

According to emails received by My Sister’s House, several Ohio organizations have been contacted by “Children and Family Services,” including Homesafe Inc. of Ashtabula County, the Auglaize County Crisis Center, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Project Woman, in Springfield, and Personal & Family Counseling Services.

“There was a website for the organization that looked legitimate,” said Crystal Chrisman-Jones, the director of My Sister’s House. “When you call the 1-800 number, it is a man who tells you to leave information and he will call you back. But now, when you go to the website, it says it’s ‘under construction.'”

Chrisman-Jones said she’s relieved that her organization did a background check on the so-called donation and that they didn’t cash the check. “This organization is targeting a lot of us,” she said. “It’s just horrible to do something like that.”

My Sister’s House has informed the Washington C.H. Police Department, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office of the possible scam.

“For those who would like to donate to My Sister’s House, please donate to us directly,” said Chrisman-Jones. “Please don’t use outside agencies.”

To contact My Sister’s House, 408 E. Court St., call 636-9300.

Source: http://www.recordherald.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=139283