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Florida man faces charges in alleged veterans charity scam

Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Christopher Blake, right, is accused of running a bogus charity for military veterans.
WFTV.com
Christopher Blake, right, is accused of running a bogus charity for military veterans.(WFTV.com)

A Florida man os facing charges after allegedly running a bogus charity for military veterans, Volusia County deputies said.

Deputies said Christopher Blake, 46, of Ormond Beach, allegedly scammed dozens of people out of at least $20,000, saying the money was going to help military veterans. Deputies said Blake allegedly tried to use a selfie he took with Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood to help boost profits.

Blake is facing a charge of operating an organized scheme to defraud, deputies said.

Deputies opened an investigation a couple of weeks ago after Blake took the selfie with the sheriff and posted it online. 

"He's a scumbag," Chitwood said.

Chitwood said Blake asked for a selfie. Deputies said Blake allegedly posted the selfie to a bogus charity website to make the site appear more credible.

“The next morning, I received about five phone calls from different people who had dealings with him.” Chitwood said.

Blake allegedly claimed to run a charity for military veterans called Second Chance Veterans Foundation.

Investigators said Blake hosted a charity golf tournament at Debary Golf and Country Club on Oct 28.

According to arrest documents, 40 people attended the event and each paid Blake $100 to play golf and eat lunch.

The documents said Blake did not pay the $6,500 he owed to the golf course. Deputies said Blake eventually handed over a check, but it bounced.

“Everything was lining his pockets and he was going to run this scam until he got locked up,” Chitwood said.

Faye Crow is one of dozens of people the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said were fooled by Blake’s alleged scheme.

Crow is the property manager for the Daytona Beach building where Blake leased an office to operate his foundation.

She said Blake paid one month of rent, but then the money stopped coming.

“He was convincing,” she said. “We believed him.”

She continued, “We kind of still believed in his cause because he had a good story, so we moved him into an external, like another general space, out of his office.”

Despite promises of money coming soon, Crow said Blake never paid.

“(He had) lots of excuses,” Crow said. “Telling us, ‘Oh, we've got this fundraiser going on. We've got a golf tournament that's happening and it's almost there.’”

Good Samaritan riding Chicago train gives snow boots to homeless man

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 12:20 AM

An act of kindness on a Chicago train helped a homeless man keep his feet warm.
Brian Kersey/Getty Images
An act of kindness on a Chicago train helped a homeless man keep his feet warm.(Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Giving someone the shirt off your back is a time-worn phrase that means performing an act of kindness to help someone.

>> Read more trending news

A Chicago man helped a homeless man by giving him the snow boots off his feet, WLS reported.

Jessica Bell posted the good Samaritan act on Facebook. She said she was riding a train home last week when she saw Maurice Anderson take off his expensive snow boots and give them to a homeless man.

The homeless man, Bell wrote on Facebook, was “older, weathered, minding his own business.”

“His feet are so swollen he's wearing the tattered gym shoes he has with the back folded down, like slip-ons,” Bell wrote. “I don't know how many pairs of socks he's wearing in an attempt to keep his feet warm but there is blood seeping through.”

The homeless man said his feet might have been frostbitten, Anderson told WLS.

“I asked him what size shoe did he wear. He was like, ‘A 12.’ I myself was a 12, so I said ‘Here you go,’” Anderson told WLS.

Anderson handed the homeless man his black snow boots and a pair of socks. Anderson, who currently works as a service technician in Kentucky, had a spare pair of boots in his suitcase, which he put on, WLS reported.

“This is not what you see on the train every day, it was amazing,” Bell told WLS.

Bell snapped a few photos of the boots changing feet and posted them on social media.

“It was a really selfless and quiet act, no fanfare,” Bell told WLS. “It just happened.”

“He's already in distress, he's out in the cold, riding the train,” Anderson told WLS. “If I'm not reaching out to help someone, I can't say anything.”

So I'm headed home on the CTA Redline and there's a homeless man sitting across from me. He's older, weathered, minding...

Posted by Jessica Bell on Friday, January 12, 2018

Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 7:43 PM
Updated: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 10:11 PM

David Allen Turpin, left and Louise Anna Turpin were charged with torture and child endangerment.
Riverside County Sheriff's Department
David Allen Turpin, left and Louise Anna Turpin were charged with torture and child endangerment.(Riverside County Sheriff's Department)

A California couple was arrested Sunday after 13 siblings, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were allegedly held captive in a home, with several children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

>> Read more trending news

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment. Bail was set at $9 million apiece, according to the news release.

Early Sunday, a 17-year-old called 911 and said she had escaped from her residence in Perris, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The teenager claimed that her 12 brothers and sisters were “being held captive” in the residence by her parents. 

When deputies met with the teen, she “appeared to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated.” Deputies went to the residence and said they were “shocked” to find the teen’s 12 siblings, seven of whom were adults ranging in age from 18 to 29. All of them appeared to be “malnourished and very dirty,” according to the release.

The parents were subsequently arrested, deputies said.

The six children, including the teen who escaped, were taken to a hospital in Moreno Valley for treatment, deputies said. The adults were being treated at a hospital in Corona.

David Turpin’s parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, told ABC News they were surprised and shocked at the allegations, KABC reported.

According to the California Department of Education website, David Turpin is listed as principal of the Sandcastle Day School, which was operated out of his home. The address listed for the school is the same residence where the 13 victims were discovered, CNN reported.

The school opened March 21, 2011, according to the website, and was categorized as a private school for students in grades one through 12.

Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson says she's skipping Trump's State of the Union address

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:51 AM

President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). (Photo credits: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). (Photo credits: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who were locked in a well-documented feud months ago over the latter’s account of a phone call between the president and the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnsonmay have a new reason to renew their spat.

>> On Rare.us: Frederica Wilson renews fight with John Kelly and President Trump

Wilson has announced two weeks ahead of Trump’s first State of the Union address that she will be following in the footsteps of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calf.) and others by ditching the occasion.

The Florida Democrat said “recent racist and incendiary remarks about Haiti and African nations” were the reason why she won’t be on hand for the speech.

“For the first time since I began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will not be attending the president’s State of the Union address. I have no doubt that instead of delivering a message of inclusivity and an agenda that benefits all Americans, President Trump’s address will be full of innuendo, empty promises and lies,” she said in a statement, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

>> Read more trending news 

“During his disappointing and destructive first year in office, Mr. Trump has demeaned the presidency at every opportunity and cast doubt on our nation’s standing as a global leader. The United States’ reputation is smoldering in the ashes of his recent racist and incendiary remarks about Haiti and African nations,” she continued. “Many of his proposed domestic policies are harmful to people of color, low-income communities and the middle class. It would be an embarrassment to be seen with him at a forum that under any other president would be an honor to attend.”

As mentioned, Waters also announced that she will not be attending the SOTU.

Waters, who also called Trump a “racist,” went on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” to say Trump “does not deserve her attention.”

“Oh no, I didn’t go to the inauguration. I didn’t go to the joint session that was held after that; I don’t intend to go to this one. Why would I take my time to go and listen to a liar, to someone who lies in the face of facts?” she said.

“What does he have to say that I would be interested in?” she added.

>> On Rare.us: Sgt. La David Johnson’s mom claims Trump 'did disrespect' her son

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he “wouldn’t be honest with [himself]” if he attends the SOTU, so he has also decided to boycott it.

Related

Florida boy dies of rabies after bat scratch, school officials say

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:41 AM

Bat in tree (stock photo). (Photo credit: Henry ... / Freeimages.com)
Henry ... / Freeimages.com
Bat in tree (stock photo). (Photo credit: Henry ... / Freeimages.com)(Henry ... / Freeimages.com)

A young boy died of rabies after being scratched by a bat, according to Christian Academy school officials in Eustis, Florida.

>> Watch the news report here

The school posted about the boy’s death on its website, saying that he attended the school in 2016.

The post said Ryker Roque “was a quiet boy adored by teachers and classmates.”

Henry Roque, Ryker's father, took a video of the two on a fishing trip and said they were as close as father and son could be. 

He shared pictures and videos of his son with WFTV to share with the world how much he loved his son.

As Ryker underwent an experimental procedure for the rabies infection, Henry held out hope, even as doctors told the family he had virtually no chance of surviving. 

>> Read more trending news 

"I've seen huge miracles before. And I went back on the bed and laid with him and held him and said, 'Ryker, miracles happen every day. I know you hear me,'" Henry said. 

Several weeks ago, Henry said he found a sick bat, which he did not know had rabies, and put it in a bucket, telling Ryker not to touch it.

But Ryker did touch it and was scratched by the bat – but seemed fine, school officials said.

A week later, the child lost use of his legs and “experienced confusion,” having hallucinations and convulsions.

Ryker was hospitalized and an experimental treatment was used, but he died Sunday.

>> On WFTV.com: Florida teacher donates kidney to student's mother

The school held a fundraiser to help the family with medical expenses.

"He was a very sweet boy. Everything he did was nice. The kids loved to play with him because he was the kindest kid," said Connor Jenkins, with the Christian Academy preschool. 

GoFundMe account was also set up for the family. 

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