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News and Events - September 2009

NEWS AND EVENTS - Thursday, September 3, 2009

CON ARTIST HITS LOCAL CHURCH

[WNDU News Center - South Bend, IN] He looks like a nice man with a sad story, but it turns out he's a scammer who targets churches and businesses across the country.

Police are searching for 33 year-old Alan Farha.

He's accused of scamming St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church in South Bend.

Members say Farha showed up at church Sunday and knew all the things to do in an Orthodox church. He admitted he wasn't from there, but was a poor student from Detroit who needed help trying to get to Kansas City because his dad has just passed away.

After he left, someone had a feeling this man's story was twisted.

Christiaan Corthier says Farha seemed like an honorable man.

Corthier says, “He wanted to know which part of the liturgy he missed. He ran upstairs and participated in church. I'm wearing a prayer bracelet and a prayer robe. He wore one in church.”

A few hours later, and three to four hundred dollars later, Christiaan's mom had a strange feeling. She heard Farha asked to be dropped off at another local church, St. Andrews.”

We asked Corthier, “Ahat did you think when you saw a message on Facebook?” He said, “flabergasted is a good word. I guess your mom is always right.”

Another member did a google search "Orthodox con man." They learned from a news report in Columbia, Misssouri in April 2008, Farha has a criminal history and a background of stalking.

He's shown targeting a pizza shop, one of many stops in Missouri.

Corthier says, “This guy stole over $12,000 from 17 different parishes. In the University of Missouri, he dressed up and said he was a journalism student, so he's very convincing.”

He’s also well rehearsed.

Corthier says, “He does it in Catholic churches, Methodist churches. We're a church that has a lot of people who are senior citizens on fixed incomes, so he doesn't care who he takes from.”

Source: WNDU News Center




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