An Ormond Beach man was arrested Friday after authorities say he used a fake veterans charity as a front to scam people and businesses out of money, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Christopher Blake, 46, ran the Second Chance Veterans Foundation — an organization that claimed to help eradicate veteran homelessness, suicide and poverty, according to the foundation’s website. Instead, authorities say Blake used the foundation to defraud several businesses.
Authorities began investigating the foundation on Dec. 18, after a business owner told deputies that Blake had not paid him for signs and banners promoting a golf tournament fundraiser. The man agreed to make the advertisements in October and drop them off at a hotel. Despite numerous phone calls and attempts to contact Blake, the man said he was never paid for the banners, which were worth nearly $550, according to court documents.
Authorities discovered that Blake didn’t pay DeBary Golf & Country Club for hosting the October tournament. The club manager told authorities that Blake wrote a $6,500 check the day after the tournament, but the check bounced, records show. The manager told authorities that Blake charged $100 per person for the tournament, which 40 people attended.
The manager of an Orange City Holiday Inn also told authorities that Blake owed the hotel money. The manager said Blake asked for a donation to the foundation, and the hotel obliged, writing a $100 check in exchange for being named as a sponsor, documents show. The manager also said Blake did not pay for nearly $1,000 worth of hotel rooms.
A retired NFL player also accused Blake of not paying him for his appearance during the tournament. Gerald Riggs told authorities that Blake asked him to appear in exchange for a $2,500 fee. Riggs attended the tournament, but the check bounced when he tried to cash it, according to documents.
Blake was booked into the Volusia County Jail on felony fraud charges.
Michael Williams can be reached at email@example.com, 407-420-5022 or @michaeldamianw.
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