NBC10 Philadelphia.com - Harry Hairston
There are new developments in a story we covered last month involving a phony donation box scam. Police have arrested two men for allegedly scamming local residents out of thousands of dollars per month.
Months ago, Kenneth Roeschen wouldn’t talk to us. We confronted him during an investigation of an allegedly phony charity that police claimed was scamming local residents out of thousands of dollars per month. Now Roeschen, along with Ed Hilem, have been arrested. Police charged them this week with violating state charity laws and much more.
“The other charges are out of the crimes code theft, theft by deception, possessing an instrument of a crime and receiving stolen property which would in fact be the money,” said Detective Corporal Roy Ferrari of the Solebury Police Department.
The NBC 10 Investigators spent weeks checking out allegations that both men dropped off hundreds of phony donation boxes in Bucks County with photos of missing children on them.
“It’s pretty disappointing that they would use a time tested charity to make money off the backs of missing and exploited children,” said Detective Ferrari. “I find it disgusting.”
“I’m happy that at least two people so far are going to have to answer for placing these boxes in these stores and deceiving all the good-hearted people,” said Detective Eric Landamia of the Lower Southampton Police Department.
Carl Webster, the CEO of Easter Seals in Southeastern Pennsylvania says allegations of phony charities alone are enough to hurt legitimate non-profits.
“Any non for profit organization in bad economic times struggle,” said Webster. “We rely upon the good will of individuals and when anyone does something to erode that good will we all pay a price.”
Hilem’s attorney claims his client did nothing wrong. Roeschen declined to comment. Police say the investigation is far from over and they expect more arrests to come. Roeschen and Hilem will face a formal arraignment on Friday.