Deputies: Founder of Fake Charity Arrested

posted by Alan McBride - 

Investigators in Volusia County say an Ormond Beach man who claimed to be the founder and CEO of an organization raising money for military veterans was arrested Friday.

Sheriff's detectives say the arrest was made after investigators determined he scammed supporters out of their money.

According to a release from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the investigation into Christopher P. Blake, 46, began after the Sheriff’s Office reported getting a complaint from a local business that provided Blake signs and banners for a fundraiser, but never got paid for them.

Authorities say the case remains under investigation as other potential victims come forward.

Deputies say that, as a detective started researching the organization, "Second Chance Veterans Foundation," its Facebook page and its website, secondchanceveteransfoundation.org, it became clear something wasn't adding up.  

According to the Sheriff's Office report, the detective found a promotion for a Memorial Day raffle of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was said to be donated by a local Harley-Davidson dealer and on display at an Orlando cafe. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, the dealership said there had been no such donation and the cafe said no motorcycle had ever been on display for Blake or his organization.

The detective then reportedly went to Blake’s office address and learned he had not paid rent in about six months. 

The landlord told the detective that she was scheduled to meet with Blake at her office that morning, and officials say she let the detective sit in on the meeting ... introducing him to Blake as her friend. 

The detective said he talked to Blake about his fund raising efforts, and Blake showed him videos of events like a fundraiser at a local country club. 

The detective went to the country club allegedly referenced by Blake and said he learned that Blake’s $6,500 check for an Oct. 28 fund raising event had bounced.

According to the Sheriff's Office report, the manager of the country club said Blake had about 40 people at the event, each of them paying Blake $100 to play golf and eat lunch.

At a Holiday Inn in Orange City, the detective reportedly learned the hotel gave Blake a $100 donation to sponsor his golf tournament. 

According to the detective, the manager said Blake also asked for four free hotel rooms; the hotel instead gave him a discounted rate. 

Investigators say Blake’s debit card used for payment of the hotel rooms was ultimately declined, and his bill was never paid.

Authorities say another victim was former NFL running back Gerald Riggs, who was a celebrity guest at the golf tournament, and whose $2,500 check from Blake bounced, as well.

Blake was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail on Friday.

Investigators say anyone who has donated money to Second Chance Veterans Foundation or has been victimized by Blake’s schemes to defraud is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office.

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