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FIRST ON 3: African-American scammers targeting local black community with Black Farmers Settlement

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: African-American scammers targeting local black community with Black Farmers Settlement
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Scammers taking advantage of the federal government's Black Farmers Settlement are targeting the local black community.

Word got out that if you showed up Friday at the Ekklesia United Holy Church on 17th Street near Market, filled out an online form, then had it notarized on site for $20, you could apply to receive part of the proposed $1 billion settlement. The qualifications to apply for the settlement are very strict and only apply to very few black farmers and their families.

Officials tell us the online form is free to download and does not need to be notarized. It's also illegal to charge more than $5 for a notary stamp in North Carolina. A spokesman for the Black Farmers Claims Administrator, the independent group overseeing the settlement, says what's going on in Wilmington is "a total scam."

"Anyone soliciting clients indicating that they can get them into this lawsuit, by paying any amount of money is a scam," said Greg Francis, who is part of the Black Farmers Lawsuit Council. "There's no way to pay to be in this lawsuit at this point."

Francis says they have heard of these scams happening in other places around the country. He says they typically notify the United States Department of Justice.

We went inside the church looking for someone in charge. Everyone we talked with said no was in charge was there. The people taking applications also scooped up their forms and left while we were trying to get answers.

Det. Kevin Smith with the Wilmington Police Department says exchanging $20 for a notary stamp isn't fraud, because it's payment for a service. However, he says paying $20 for a worthless piece of paper is definitely a scam.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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"Elvis has left the building"

All this bickering going on...and the main thing is..."Elvis has left the building".
I suspect these spammers are miles away by now thanks to quick responses by the authorities..."NOT"!
I think the 2 ladies names in question collecting the notary funds were:
1. Mrs. Cleep Hogroy
2. Mrs. Flark Flapazoid
Don't worry...the authorities have their names and it shouldn't be too hard to track them down....HA!!!!
Sarcastic you say? Yes...to prove a point of ignorance of all concerned.
As these 2 sail off into the sunset with everyone's name and bank info...it shall be considered a..."Hard Day's Work" and nearly caught...but escaped safely because no one had the police there. BINGO!
Regardless of color/religion/etc., there are too many people falling prey these days to these types of situations...whether it be by email or any other method. IMO...this being held in a church was/is a smoke screen to make people believe "All is well" in their place of faith...but there is no faith now. All is well now...for the crooks.
No need to defend people taken for a ride because this took place in a church...a parking lot...or any where else for that matter. The fact remains that people let themselves fall prey to situations such as this when something is labeled "FREE Money"...even though the $20 fee was part of the deal.
The only ones "Free Money" applied to, were the 2 ladies in the video dodging the reporter. I think the applicants know this now.
But are all the facts in on this case? "Probably Not"...after all...this is the news isn't it?
By the way...whom started the notice these people were having this application event...the church officers...or Joey on the street????

Her picture is right here.

Her picture is right here. She is the one who needs to be arrested. She got defensive when the reporter was trying to interview her because she is part of the scam. The police should identify her and arrest her immediately. That will be a start to bring down the whole group of scam artist. START THERE. End this entitlement fraud.

Obama monies...

Many purposes

Let me be the first to say that I attend Ekklesia and our church is used for many purposes not just a holy service. This building is also used for AA meetings weekly so who's to say the members of the church were in on it ?? Gather all of your facts together first people.

A message to Ekkesia

I know some of the members and the Pastors of Ekkesia United Holy Church.

They are basically good people. I personally do not think that they were involved in the scam at all.

However, I think that they should investigated the background of these scammers before they opened their church doors and allowed these wolves to come in and bring a reproach upon the church.

The Pastor is supposed to be the head of the church. He/she should be the first to know who comes in and goes out of the sancturary. They are the watchmen. They protect the flock. (John 10).

Maybe the pastors in Wilmington should spend some more time seeking God in prayer and fasting so that they can get filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will show you things to come, lead and guide you into all truth. The pastor would have known that they were being set up for open shame if He had the real deal.

You do not allow money changers in the temple. It is supposed to be a house of prayer for all people. Get back on track! Line the ministry back up with the Word of God, and you will not have this problem again.

Ekkesia, you were hurt this time. Don't let the devil trick you again. Get prayed up and be lead by The Spirit of God. Move on and let this be a testimony about how you learned obedience through the things that you suffered.

so there is anger because

so there is anger because reporters went into the church to expose the fraud. however, no anger at the fraud that was going on in the church, nor at church leadershp for allowing the fraud to happen. There was no anger at the people who were trying to get money they did not earn and did not deserve. No anger at the greed that brought the people to the church and no anger over the one's trying to defraud the greedy people? I'm thinking we are missing the bigger picture

re: scam

I guess this just goes to show, you don't have to be a corporation on Wall Street to be greedy. These same people who are seeking to scam others are the same people who condemn corporations on Wall Street for being greedy. We have turned into greedy, envious, covetous of what others have, society. This just reflects the condition of the heart of man and how low we have sunk.

Greed...it's our society...

All you have to do is look at any disaster here in the United States. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. There is always looting going on from hitting businesses to individual residences. Look at the idiots that didn't have enough sense to get on a bus and get out of Louisiana during a major hurricane, but there are thousands of pictures of looters stealing everything from beer to TVs (which were basically worthless) and anything else they could float or carry.

You didn't see that crap going on in Japan with a tsunami and a nuclear disaster going on at the same time!

Ever since...

Ever since that girl ate the apple. Being going down hill day by day.

"Stupid is...stupid

"Stupid is...stupid does!"
Reminds me of the time when my sister sent my name & email address to one of those Dumb A** scam e-mailer's that hit her email to see if there was unclaimed federal money in the government banks for me!! It took me forever and a day to block all the stupid spam emails that followed. I almost had to sell my home, and move to Inner Mongolia to get away from them! :-(
I guess there are some people (probably a lot) that are so desperate for $$$ hand outs for a $20 fee, then receive 100 times their return...or more...they will try anything and everything...including eating popcorn sandwiches for a month patiently waiting for the check to arrive.
Sad :-{

I want a popcorn sandwich.

I want a popcorn sandwich. Where can I get one???? Pleeeeeeeze!

2 pieces of white bread...a

2 pieces of white bread...a little mayo...pile on the popcorn...and there you have it.
Salt and butter at your own discretion......

Open letter to Police Chief

Dear Sir,

Recently WWAY TV3 recorded on video an illegal activity being perpetrated at Ekklesia United Holy Church on 17th Street.

The operators of said "Church" knew, or should have known that this activity, and actions were in violation of rules of law, and probably knew that members of said "Church" were conspiring to defraud the Federal Government in what has become known as the "Pigford Farm" settlement case.

With "claimants" coming from as far away as Virginia, these actions were across state lines, and most likely used telephones, computers, or other devices to lure or induce "claimants" to come to Wilmington.

This would be some violation of Interstate wire fraud.

When confronted by TV3, two women in particular were not surprised that fraud was being perpetrated, but rather that thier actions were being recorded on Video and demanded the reporter leave with a
"in your face" confrontation designed to intimidate and remove the reporter and cameraman.

We, the citizens of Southeast North Carolina, demand, yes demand an investigation into the illegal and fraudulent activities that have occurred at the Ekklesia United Holy Church on 17th Street.

We further demand any and all cooperation from the State SBI, and FBI
to root out ALL INVOLVED, and arrest any that have violated the law.

We also ask that the Internal Revenue service conduct an investigation and REVOKE the tax exempt status of Ekklesia United Holy Church if found to be involved in fraud.

Also, the senior officers of church knowingly participated in this scheme by "renting" the church to fraudsters.

We look forward to your impartial and fair investigation and look to be informed of progress, arrests, and any information you uncover about this attempted fraud against our government.

Thankfully, I know TV3 will stay on this story, and we all await your actions.

The people at the church

The people at the church were not in on the scam. This is my belief. They honestly thouht that they were helping out citizens here, but there is one thing to think about here. If the money is from the Gov. then there is usually no fees for things such as this. So give the church a break.

Oh come on, you have to be

Oh come on, you have to be kidding me. You honestly think that they are THAT ignorant? Ok, maybe they are, but still...

If the truth be known

Listen, I am willing to bet my paycheck that 1/3 to 1/2 of the people that showed up to pay their $20 to get in on this are not even "farmers". They are there to find an easy way to get more handouts. People, when will you learn. If it sounds too good to be true then most likely it is. Just another example of the steps scammers will take to earn their "free money" at the expense of those who might be entitled as well as at the expense of those who are there to see if they can get on the free money train too.

Look at what happened after Katrina for example. Many, many who never even lived in those areas applied for and got FEMA money. Most who were not even paying taxes to boot. This all makes me sick as if there were not as much fraud taking place out here, then maybe the government could keep the legitimate programs going.

FREE MONEY !!!

Wow... Free Money that easily now come on people think lol lmao!!!!!

Blacks preying on blacks,

Blacks preying on blacks, just like the drug trade.

Whites killing their own

Whites killing their own family members for insurance money.
Hmmm...whatsup with that?

This really should be a national story.

I'd love to see an individual interview with the applicants to find out the specifics of their farming operations. If this story doesn't open your eyes to the level of money being stolen from the Treasury, I don't know what will. Kudos to WWAY and the reporter for not backing down. This is on the level of shocking as James O'Keefe's exposing of ACORN. If people are driving from Virginia to take part, I'm willing to be that this isn't an isolated case. Also, it's one thing to have your identity stolen, it's another to have paid the person $20 dollars to do it for you. D'oh!

Be grateful

Be grateful - at least no whites were involved in the scam or Al Sharpton would have shown up to claim racism.

People were doing what they thought they should do. Get in on a benefit. Too bad there are scammers out there ready to take what you have. But again - if it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.

Oh don't worry, Al's working

Oh don't worry, Al's working on a plan.

Am I shocked that these

Am I shocked that these people got busted..no... however I am shocked at the lack of education in the Wilmington area. Why are our people so dumb? I know why because we have been taught to listen instead of read. If anyone with common sense that would have went to Google and did some research would have found out that you can APPLY for FREE online at the website. To the person who stated something about Black Farmers in Wilmington, you must be the most racist and unrealistic person on Earth. There were parts of Wilmington and surrounding areas pre-Race Riots of 1898 that were owned by Blacks and their families. When was the last time you drove out the the Wrighstville Beach area around Airle Gardens and along Military Cut-Off Road? That was ALL BLACK at one time until Whites felt that they were being out numbered and educated by Blacks and did everything in their power to destroy families and businesses. I bet you didn't learn that sitting in Hoggard or New Hanover High! When will this city wake up! And to the lady who is questioning the sanctity and the respect of the House of God, blame the person who created the disorder. The same people who ALWAYS causes disorder. The one who is quick to tear down another person. Afraid they will be left behind because they are not caring the latest Coach bag or driving the Benz E Class 420... When will our people come together on issues that matter like why is the school board always 8 whites and 1 black? Where are the black political leaders in the area that are about making change instead of worrying about the change in their pockets? If you wanna be mad about something be mad about the road our people are going down and CHANGE THAT!

You got one for president of the United States didn't you?

And see what he has done? What are you REALLY complaining about?

President Obama's check list...

MY PRESIDENT: 1. Got Osama Bin Laden...check 2. Unemployment rate 8.5%...check. 3. 1.6 million jobs created with no GOP help...check 4. 22 months of job and economic growth with no help...check 5. Ended war in Iraq ...check 6. DADT repeal...check 7. Not one tax hike in 3 years....check 8.Brought out of racism in the Gop...check 9.Still carry 80% of the black vote...check 10.Same wife for 15 years ......wi...th no extra marital affairs...check 11. Save auto industry and 1.5 million jobs.. check 12. Assisted in ousting Khaddafi...check 13.Only active President to receive Nobel Peace prize while in office...check 14. Mortgage modification to prevent home owners from losing their home...check 15. STILL fighting for middle class families...check 16.Reform affordable healthcare.... check. Despite what the GOP would have you believe the President has been doing these things and more by himself. Obama 2012-

Answers

"Why are our people so dumb?" - They're not dumb...they're greedy. Big difference.

I've lived here all my life, as did my father before me, and his father before him. They worked hard for everything they got, just as I have, and just as my children will. No one gave us anything. We never lived off of anyone else's dime. We never accepted free handouts. Yet we had everything we needed.

When a man (or woman) works and honors God with their labor, God blesses them. He opens doors for them that would normally be closed. Instead of moaning and groaning about how unfair life is, work on changing your attitude and honoring God. The rest will fall in line.

I find it ironic that you're upset about "racist" Wilmington and you're calling others racist, when your very post sprews racism to overflowing. You have a bitter and sour attitude about life and about other people. But then, it's always easier to cast stones at someone else than to look in the mirror, isn't it?

Why are there

8 whites and 1 black on the School Board?? How is that relevant to this topic?

Did you ever hear of statistics? Look at the population breakdown & you may find the answer. Add to that the fact that too many Blacks do not want to expend the effort to get elected. Remember the School Board is an elected position.

Where are the Black politicl leaders?

At least one former "leader" is still in Central Prison. I have seen nothing in the media indicating Mr. Wright earned an early release.

Mr. Barfield is probably up late studying travel policy and available out of state junkets which he can enjoy at the taxpayers' expense. And maybe he is secretly negotiating to being that ballpark to the area. Comp him with tickets and free hot dogs; it might arrive with his support.

Another is defending himself over professional misdeeds, not related to his former political position, when he failed to properly inspect a HUD project and faces a significant lawsuit.

There's three of your leaders. Maybe you can add some more.

But why is it, when you folks fail to come up with any defense for African American actions, you pull out the race card?

Is it to incite racial tensions? Or is it to detract attention from the real issues.

Blacks are not the only ones who are committing crimes.

This is so sad to see and read early this morning.
Blacks are definitely committing crimes all over the world.
But please sweep around your own front door.

Whites are committing all kinds of crimes and sweeping them under the rug.

The main cause for all crimes is sin and being separated from a loving God that willingly died for all races of people on the cross so that we would not have to turn to a life of crime to get by.

Bottom line.

I can add one. Charles

I can add one. Charles Warren. He refuses to abide by an ethics policy that he voted for, not to mention that he's a big cry baby. If you can't stand the heat then stay out of the political kitchen.

Racist

I'm white and I will be the first to tell you that your post was racist.