Charges filed against suspected church scammers
Posted March 13, 2009 6:03 p.m. EDT
Updated March 13, 2009 6:50 p.m. EDT
Bunnlevel, N.C. — A father and son suspected of preying on church congregations to obtain money face fraud charges in connection with at least two alleged swindles.
David Twitty, 45, and his son, Travis, 20, have approached church congregations in at least a dozen counties to seek financial help, authorities said. They claim a family member has been injured or killed in an accident and take off after collecting hundreds of dollars in donations, authorities said.
The Rev. Adrian Ingram of Andrews Chapel in Bunnlevel said the father and son visited his church one Sunday last fall.
"He said he had 92 cents in his pocket. He shed some tears, (and) sang a song to the congregation. A lot of our congregation even shed tears," Ingram said. "He also stated he was a minister, and that's what made ... everyone accept and receive him."
Capt. Jeff Medlin of the Moore County Sheriff's Office said investigators have received reports of the same scam from churches in Wake, Durham, Orange, Alamance, Chatham, Granville, Harnett, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph and Richmond counties.
Last weekend, three Moore County churches were targeted, Medlin said.
Churches in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia also have reported similar scams as far back as 1997 from a man identifying himself as David Twitty, Medlin said.
The Moore County Sheriff's Office has obtained warrants charging David and Travis Twitty with two counts each of obtaining property by false pretense. The men weren't in custody as of Friday evening.
"People are very skeptical anyway about helping others, and I think they've put a damper on that," Ingram said.
The Twittys are believed to be from the Charlotte area and drive a red Jeep Cherokee with South Carolina license AKA-475.
Anyone with information about the men is asked to call the Moore County Sheriff's Office at 910-947-2931.