A receptionist snapped an iPhone picture of Chris Hamilton. Then, she Googled him.
(WMC-TV) – A St. Jude/University of Memphis charity impostor crossed state lines – and made a big mistake.
He let a quick-thinking receptionist snap a picture of him.
"He said his name is Chris Hamilton," said Sarah Fairley, receptionist for the Fantastic Sam's in Southaven Commons Shopping Center on Goodman Rd.
Fairley said Hamilton solicited the salon's employees and customers, requesting cash donations and $15 for T-shirts to be delivered later – all to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She said he was collecting on behalf of the University of Memphis basketball team as a former player.
"He let everyone know he was with Coach (Josh) Pastner, and he was number 48," Fairley said. "Something didn't sound right."
Fairley snapped an iPhone picture of Hamilton. Then, she Googled him.
"That's when your news article came up," she said, referring to Action News 5's investigation July 3. Our story revealed a man calling himself Chris Hamilton took $15 from someone in downtown Memphis with the promise of a T-shirt in honor of St. Jude.
Except St. Jude does not raise funds that way – and neither the university's spokespeople nor Pastner have ever heard of a ‘Chris Hamilton.'
"The money that could have gone to a legitimate charity has now gone to a crook," said Randy Hutchinson, president of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.
"There is no ‘Number 48,'" said Fairley. "There is no collection from the Memphis Tigers for St. Jude, and I was really upset."
Never give cash or any donations to a solicitor without verifying the charity or cause he or she represents. Do not be pressured into giving on the spot. Verify with the actual organization(s) in question or with the BBB Wise-Giving Alliance, CharityNavigator.org or NascoNet.org.