(KMOV) – A girl claiming to be a college cheerleader raising funds for a children’s hospital is accused of scamming a local woman out of money.
Police say the girl who came through an Edwardsville neighborhood to collect cash told people that half the money they donated would pay for her cheerleading competition in Florida, and that the other half would go to local hospitals.
However, according officials at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, the cheerleaders are not going to Florida, the squad is not collecting money, and the girl asking for money is not even a member of the team.
Sandrarae Hyatt was one of the victims scammed, and says the girl’s story tugged at her heart. “When she said that, I thought about my own daughter who had cancer, and that kind of won me over to go ahead and write a check,” Hyatt says.
But when Hyatt learned it was all a scam, she was extremely upset. “It was just a terrible thing to do. When you think about the children who have cancer and the things that they go through, it was pretty low,” says Hyatt.
Police say the girl’s smooth-talking story was part of a racket with Midwest Circulation, a Missouri company with an F rating from the Better Business Bureau.