Local News

Fayetteville police warn military families of scam

Posted September 22, 2009 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2009 6:37 p.m. EDT

— A retired Army warrant officer has been scamming victims in the military community out of thousands of dollars since last October, police said.

Nathaniel Lee Walker, 43, of 1913 Ashridge Drive, surrendered to police on Sept. 15 on four charges of felony worthless checks and was released on an unsecured bond. Since then, three more arrest warrants have been issued against him, and more cases are pending, police said.

Walker lures his victims with promises of an investment opportunity, usually in the real estate market, police said. Convinced of a quick return on their investment, the victims write him a check, which he immediately cashes, police said.

Investors who try to get their money back are given checks that bounce, police said.

"All of the victims I have been in contact with do know him," said Detective Jennifer Kelly of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Kelly said 11 victims have been identified so far, and some have lost as much as $80,000. All of the victims have been military members or were associated with the military.

Rick Schooler and Bill Tubbs, retired soldiers who run a home-improvement business, said they each gave Walker $1,000 to invest and haven't seen him since.

"Everything seemed on the up and up," Schooler said.

Walker said he was buying homes from soldiers facing foreclosure, letting them stay in their homes as renters and selling the houses to investors, Schooler said. He promised investors he would double their money within a few weeks.

"It sounded great. He's a good talker, I'll give him that," Schooler said. "When it came down to the nuts and bolts, he wouldn't produce at all."

A woman who answered the door at Walker's home said he was away and shut the door without answering questions.

Walker owns and operates Education Consulting Advisers on Cliffdale Road, and he was previously licensed as a real estate agent operating under Rosewood Real Estate Co., police said.

He is on the bank alert list and has most recently written checks on a Navy Federal Credit Union bank account, police said.

"I just don't understand how he can be a warrant officer in the Army, retired and he's doing this, and I can't figure out why he thinks he can get away with it, either," Tubbs said. “I want to see him go to prison, I really do.”

Anyone having any information on Walker, or wanting to report financial fraud, is asked to call Kelly at 910-433-1856.