Monday, November 28, 2005

Local Hurricane Evacuees Not What They Seem

Found at WWAY TV 3

Local charities call evacuated family scam artists
Nov 28, 2005, 03:45 PM

They arrived here in September saying they lost everything to Hurricane Katrina.

Charity groups here opened their hearts and families opened their homes to help these new visitors rebuild their lives. Now it looks like the Laffertys are not what they claimed to be. Local charities are even calling them scam artists.

Home owner Jaime Towne opened up his rental home to the Lafferty family for free -- a family who claimed to be victims of Hurricane Katrina's destruction along the Gulf Coast.

Towne said, "We couldn't believe there were people that actually did this. And they ended up to be what we consider professional grifters. They're doing it somewhere else right now, I am convinced."

After trashing the house destruction is what the Laffertys left behind again. But this time the very kind-hearted people who tried to help the Laffertys are left picking up the pieces.

We met the Lafferty family back in September when they told everyone they lost everything to the killer storm.

"We may not have a home, we may not have nothing to our names, but we have each other," the Lafferty family said.

That sob story is the reason a local church and several other volunteer groups and businesses tried to help the Laffertys rebuild their lives.

When the charity groups opened their hearts, the Laffertys accepted. But, when groups couldn't give any more the Laffertys skipped town leaving writing on walls, cigarette burns in the carpet and broken windows.

"Just as if it were a wild party that didn't stop," Towne said. "We found empty bottles of prescription drugs, oxycontin."

The Laffertys are gone without a trace. None of the charities got their social security numbers so there is little chance of getting back everything they took.

Mr. Towne says he won't let the Laffertys win. As soon as the house is suitable he's letting another family of Katrina evacuees stay for free. But this time he's doubling up on the background checks.

Like my wife likes to say - "There is a special place in hell for them".

posted by David at 5:23 PM :: Permalink ::

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