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Police: Suspects Posed as Local Athletes in Magazine Scam

Posted August 11, 2007
Updated August 12, 2007

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— Raleigh police arrested seven people who they say posed as student-athletes with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University to sell fraudulent magazine subscriptions.

The seven suspects collected about $1,000 from residents of Wakefield neighborhood in northeast Raleigh, according to arrest warrants filed at the Wake County Magistrate's Office.

The suspects said they were raising money for trips by the N.C. State baseball team and UNC softball team, according to court records.

According to the complaints, people claiming to be company representatives pose as athletes at area colleges and attempt to sell magazines to fund trips for college athletic teams.

Police arrested Thomas Duane Fuller, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.;  Heather Renae Austin, 18, of Minerva, Ohio; Damion Ellijah Balok, 25, of Belleview, Fla.; Dustin Blount, 18, of Doylestown, Ohio; Denver C. Hensel, 21, of Raleigh; Chris McKim, 21, of Raleigh; and Jennifer Dobbs, 20, of Surprise, AZ.

Six of the seven are charged with one count of obtaining property by false pretense and are each being held under $10,000 bond.

Fuller faces an additional charge of obtaining property by false pretense and is being held under a $20,000 bond.

All seven suspects were still in the Wake County jail as of Sunday evening.


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  • gilkat Aug 13, 2007

    I had a young man approach me at Crabtree Valley Mall a few weeks ago offering up the same story about being from UNC and trying to raise money for the school and win a trip or something but I don't see his pic here. For some reason I allowed him to talk me into listening to him for a few minutes. When I told him I wasn't going to buy anything he continued to try and pressure me. It got so bad I ended the conversation by calling him something I can't say here and then I reported him to mall police. I guess they didn't think it important enough to follow up on because I saw him and his partner there the next day. He did say that he does this in malls up and down the east coast.

  • dsdaughtry Aug 13, 2007

    If you have been scammed or know someone that has been scammed regarding this specific incident please contact the Raleigh Police Department at 919-890-3335.

    The more people that come forward will ensure that our District Attorney has a clear case of fraud charges to pursue and a restituion plan for the victims.

  • Lord Stanley Aug 13, 2007

    Apparently my family got scammed by Heather this weekend...


  • claudnc Aug 13, 2007

    spazman - you are so right. How many times have you ordered something from these kids and you never received it. Hell as I child I know for a fact this was a well known prank. We all knew someone pulling this prank at different times during the year. We lived near the base and cheerleaders would say they were fundraising for uniforms and football players and other athletes would represent their sport... Guess I need to apologize to all the folks that ordered candy and other items from us and we choose to eat or use the items rather than distribute them. OMG I remember when my girlfriend actually tried to sell some items back to the folks that ordered them in the first place....at a higher price...Sorry folks brings up real good memories. This has been a prank forever.

  • iamforjustice Aug 13, 2007

    I don't like strangers either. But 2 Halloweens ago I had cooked breakfast and burned the biscuits and that is what I gave out instead of halloween candy. Kids don't come to my house anymore.

  • avidreader Aug 13, 2007

    If I don't personally know the child I don't buy anything, and I very rarely go to the door when someone knocks or rings, and I NEVER go after dark - even if all 3 cars are in the driveway, the lights are on and the TV is on - I could not care less if they know I am avoiding or ignoring them!!!

  • casp3r Aug 13, 2007

    Hey spaz they have mugshots of all 7 of them in the slideshows on the right.

  • spazman Aug 13, 2007

    Oh Yeah,Do you show ALL, ALL pictures close up,NO and you know why

  • spazman Aug 13, 2007

    OH STOP,this aint the crime of the century,You know how much candy, donuts,and christmas paper i bought ,and neversaw?Thats why i HATE ALL boyscouts,schools,and kids!!I'll bet all the kids that beat me are in prison today.(couldnt be a mistake)Now that was the crime of the century,before murder ,rape,robberys.

  • claudnc Aug 13, 2007

    I am so sure this was an easy scam to pull off due to these folks targeting an affluent area and claiming to be college students. An this is by no means a new scam - its been going on forever.