PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Police say several Port St. Lucie businesses were victimized when a call for charity turned out to be a fraud.
Marsha Foster, 49, was arrested Monday for grand theft, among other charges. Port St. Lucie police say the Ellenwood, Georgia resident posed as a local business leader, asking for money to benefit the Boys and Girls Club, but her solicitations and her intentions didn't match up.
At Nail Lounge West on NW Courtyard Circle in Port St. Lucie, the Le family offers manicures and pedicures. Owner Jay Le says they also give to good causes.
"We don't make too much money, but we do want to support the Boys and Girls Club," said Le.
He says he thought he was giving to the Boys and Girls Club a few weeks ago. He later told police that Foster collected his $100 donation. In exchange for the money, Le says she promised to promote his business at Superplay USA, a nearby bowling alley.
"The next day my wife drove over there just to see if they're really doing it, and nope. There was nothing," said Le.
Police say Le got taken - a victim of Foster's fraud.
"She was saying that she worked for Superplay as the manager of marketing, and she was using that as a rouse to get businesses to solicit money for a charitable organization," said Tom Nichols, a Port St. Lucie police spokesman.
Foster allegedly went to Le's brother, too, looking for a donation. Le says when he got that call, he alerted police.
"Try to retain her for about ten minutes. I'm going to come over there. I'm going to call the cops," said Le.
Police arrested Foster, who is now facing theft and fraud charges. There is worry that legitimate charities can suffer from fallout in cases like this.
"Sometimes it holds that person back, wondering, 'Is that money really going to a charitable event?'" said Nichols.
Le says he won't stop giving to charity, but he won't let his guard down either.
"It hurts a little bit," said Le. "I feel bad that she is in jail, but I can live with that because she's not on the street doing it to other businesses."
Officers say Foster has some outstanding warrants in Georgia. They include charges similar to those which got her arrested here.
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