Waterloo man selling tickets to fraudulent event at NCC - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo man selling tickets to fraudulent event at National Cattle Congress

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Several Waterloo agencies are warning the public about a fundraising scam advertised in the Cedar Valley Saver.

Salvation Army Captain Rob Whitney and local Executive Director of The Boy Scouts of America Todd Wordel said Dennis Leahy of Waterloo is attempting to sell tickets for $15 to a concert at the National Cattle Congress.  The NCC General Manager Larry Gaffey confirmed there is no such concert taking place on March 24.

"He gave us a $1,600 deposit to rent the building. And everything was great -- hey, we got the building rented, that's what we do," said Gaffey.  "But after talking to him further, it became obvious that there were some issues with the event. I'm not a doctor, but it seemed pretty clear to me that this guy had a mental illness of some sort. The conversation was very disconnected."

Gaffey said he returned Leahy's deposit, and asked him to do a bit more homework.  He said Leahy was on the NCC grounds nearly every day, and would often call -- disguising his voice -- to speak with Gaffey.

Meanwhile, Wordel said Leahy approached his group about partnering for a fundraising event with a handwritten proposal.  Wordel felt something wasn't right about it, and turned down the request.  When the advertisement came out on March 15th, Whitney sent out a press release --  representing the five non-profit organizations -- to let the public know it is a scam.

"It's rare that it happens where somebody uses our name without us knowing about it. This is actually the first time it's happened to me," said Captain Rob Whitney from the Salvation Army of Waterloo/Cedar Falls.

Waterloo police are investigating the advertisement.  Brian Lewis, publisher of the Cedar Valley Saver is printing a retraction in the next edition.

"The Cedar Valley Saver wants to correct an error regarding the "Free Food or Drink and HBO Boxing Event Offer" in the Freddie Lee ad in the 3/15/12 Cedar Valley Saver. The offer was not authorized by The National Cattle Congress, listed businesses, or Non-Profit organizations listed in the ad. An individual representing them self as a promoter for the events placed this ad fraudulently. These events will not occur at the Cattle Congress on March 24th. The authorities have been notified in regards to this matter," Lewis said in a statement Friday.  He added, "we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Click here to see the advertisement which appeared in the Cedar Valley Saver.

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