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I-Team 10 Investigation: Phony fundraiser

Updated: 09/17/2013 6:33 PM
Created: 09/17/2013 6:23 PM WHEC.com

A Gates man is accused of collecting donations all in the name of charity. The only problem police say it was a lie and officers want to know if he came to your door.
 
Officers say the man claimed he was collecting money for the Multiple Sclerosis Walk, but police say he is not affiliated with the MS organization. 
 
Forty eight-year-old William Bryan Junior is charged with peitit larceny and lying about his identity.
He was arrested last week in Brockport, but investigators are now trying to determine if he came to your home or business.
 
When a man walked into Silvano's Barbershop on Main Street in Brockport last Wednesday afternoon, employees say he made an impassioned pitch for donations for a fundraiser to benefit the MS Society.
 
Marco Lopez said, “He just asked for any donation, said anything will help. He seemed like an honest guy, legitimate, so I didn't really question it.”
 
What they didn't know until I-Team 10 told them is that shortly after leaving the barbershop, Bryan wasarrested and charged with petit larceny. Police say he falsely represented himself as being from the MS Society.
 
What Bryan might not have realized is that his visit to Silvano's was captured on video cameras. In the footage, you can see, he manages to get the employees and even the customers to hand over a few dollars each. The video show Bryan sitting down and counting the cash before leaving the shop.
 
Lopez said, "I think it's pretty messed up. How can you come in and lie to someone's face? It seemed legitimate, a legitimate cause, and end up for your own gain,that's kind of messed up. It don't seem right."
 
But Silvano's wasn't the only business Bryan visited that day. Police say he hit several shops in Brockport until one business owner became suspicious and called police who quickly tracked Bryan down.
 
Lt. Mark Cuzzupoli, Brockport Police, said, "He gave a false name and had no identification, no credentials through MS Society that he was legitimate to be out there fundraising."
 
The MS Society's Upstate Chapter says Bryan is not registered to participate in any fundraiser events and has no connection with the agency. Police are now trying to determine how much money he may have collected and whether he was soliciting in any other towns.
 
Lt. Mark Cuzzupoli said, "There's so many causes out there that people do fundraisers for that you want to give money to and you want to believe people, but unfortunately, there's some individuals who try to gain for themselves."
 
Bryan has a petit larceny charge pending in Brighton. According to the police complaint, he “used trickery to obtain $36 from a woman, telling her he needed money for a taxi because his wife was in labor.”
   
I-Team 10 tried to contact Bryan at home and by phone Tuesday, but were unsuccessful.
 


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