Monday, September 28, 2009
Charges Pending Against Scam Artist
Numerous charges are pending against a Centerville resident who has allegedly been scamming business owners from Mississippi to Tennessee, claiming to be a pastor collecting funds for a sick child.
Reports filed through the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department indicate that the man struck again in Lawrence County during the weekend. Authorities report that he has pulled the scam during at least three different trips through this area during past months.
On Saturday Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputies spoke with Beverly Dana Evans at Home Designs, 2539 Highway 43, South, in the Leoma area, around 3:30 p.m.
She reported that the previous day she had been approached at her business by a man who identified himself as Danny Bishop.
He indicated that he was the pastor of First Assembly of God Church on South Locust Avenue (Highway 43 South), and reported he and others were attempting to raise $5,000 to pay for medical treatments for a young girl in the congregation who had been diagnosed with cancer.
He indicated that they had raised all except $500 and asked whether Evans could make a contribution.
In exchange for her assistance, Bishop told Evans he would advertise her business on banners erected around town as well as in their brochures.
Evans said she first gave Bishop a $75 dollar donation, but that he told her if she would double the amount he would be able to plug her business on television advertisements they were putting together for their church. Evans then increased her donation to $150.
Bishop had claimed to know a friend of Evans’ who attends the church. When she called her friend the following day, Evans learned that there was no one at the church named “Danny Bishop” and that they were not raising funds for a cancer patient.
Deputies soon spoke with a second victim, Donna Faye Pack of Chapman’s Tires, 3905 Highway 43 North in Ethridge. Pack reported that she had given Bishop a donation of $50 on July 8.
At that time he had told her the same story, saying that they lacked $500 meeting their $5,000 goal for Watkins’ medical treatments. Pack reported she wrote the check to the “Angie Watkins Benefit” fund at “Danny Bishop Ministries.”
The investigating officer, who is also a member of Lawrenceburg First Assembly of God, reported that “Danny Bishop is not a member.”
In the course of investigating the case he reports he discovered that this “is an on-going scam occurring in Tennessee and Mississippi.” In addition to these two cases, authorities report several such cases are currently under investigation through the Loretto Police Department.
When the investigating officer contacted Bishop’s former Pastor, Jerry Wayne Dillon of Parkway Church in Madison, Mississippi, he was informed that Bishop “has pulled similar scams in that area,” using Dillon’s name as well as the name of his church.
Reports indicate that before leaving each business, Bishop always gave the owners two music CDs featuring recordings of his own musical endeavors.
Using photos on the CDs along with Bishop’s criminal history, driver license photo, and photos from his My Space page featuring “Danny Bishop Ministries,” authorities report victims were able to offer a positive ID. Bishop is reportedly a forty-six-year-old resident of 113 Marston Road in Centerville.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the wide-spread scam and report that numerous charges are pending against Bishop. Other victims are asked to contact their local law enforcement agency to report additional fraud cases.