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News, Santa Monica, Courts, Police Department

Three Men In Santa Monica Charity Scam On Third Street Promenade Convicted

Rodney Muhammad, 56, of Compton.
Rodney Muhammad, 56, of Compton.
Derek Haskins, 53, of Los Angeles.
Derek Haskins, 53, of Los Angeles.
Jerry White, 53, of Santa Monica.
Jerry White, 53, of Santa Monica.

Posted Jan. 9, 2013, 9:11 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Three men arrested in November during an undercover police sting on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade were convicted yesterday on criminal charges for their roles in a charitable solicitation scam.

Each of the men -- 56-year-old Rodney Muhammad of Compton, 53-year-old Derek Haskins of Los Angeles and 53-year-old Jerry White of Santa Monica -- pled no contest to three misdemeanor violations in the LAX courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

White and Muhammad were convicted of identity theft, false advertising, and aggressive solicitation. Hoskins was convicted of theft by false pretenses, false advertising, and identity theft, all misdemeanors.

The court placed all three defendants under probation for three years. During that time:

1. They will be prohibited from coming within 100 feet of the Santa Monica downtown business district.

2. They are barred from soliciting contributions of any kind, anywhere in the state.

3. They are required to perform 240 hours of hard labor community service within one year.

4. They must perform 56 hours of work at Ocean Park Community Center, a local shelter, within one year.

Among the charities whose names were used by the men, were AIDS Health Foundation and Another Chance Ministry.

“The sentence fits the crime in this case," said prosecutor Gary Rhoades. "The three men who impersonated charity workers for personal gain must now give back to the community by doing long hours of hard labor and community service.”

Rhoades urged caution to all when donating to charities.

“A little bit of research on the phone and the Internet can help assure that your donations are going to a worthy and legitimate cause,” he said.

The sting was organized after the Santa Monica City Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit discovered that the charities which the men claimed to be collecting for, denied any connection to the men.

The investigation by Consumer Affairs Specialist Paula Rockenstein included posing as a tourist on the Promenade and visiting the headquarters of the alleged charity undercover. The City also discovered that the charity IDs and other credentials being used by the men were phony.

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Jan. 9, 2013, 10:44:58 am

Michele said...

I often see soliciters like these on 3rd st promenade. I am always a bit suspicious and now i know why!!

Jan. 9, 2013, 1:59:59 pm

David said...

All 3 black! I'm SHOCKED!

Jan. 9, 2013, 2:27:16 pm

Margaret said...

What scum!!!! I am over the moon these morons got caught! These type of people ruin it for those that are genuinely collecting for a good cause and not to just put in their own back pocket! I'm so glad they got caught.

Jan. 9, 2013, 3:48:09 pm

Miguel Bravo said...

Always knew these guys were full of it. I don't chastise them too much tho. Social injustice

Jan. 9, 2013, 5:13:14 pm

David Idiot said...

David , you're an idiot. That goes deeper than skin color.

Jan. 9, 2013, 7:13:45 pm

Sanchez said...

Amazing that some people will bring color into this. think of all the money they took from giving people who thought it would go to a charity. If you read the public report record they all had wads of cash in their pockets.

Jan. 9, 2013, 7:16:46 pm

Abby said...

Interesting. I have seen these people for years and always wondered why they weren't shut down so to speak. All it took was the consumer specialist Paula Rockenstein to go out there to see what they were really doing. thank you. I am sure they pocketed alot of money.

Jul. 29, 2013, 11:16:51 pm

Jacey said...

I've seen a couple at them at my school in CSUN! OMG I can't escape these idiots.

Mar. 9, 2014, 9:00:26 am

J said...

I only remember the 3rd one, Jerry. They were really aggressive sales guys. I thought they got a commission or something never really thought into it being a scam. "Hello young man, wanna help a good cause?" Then I remember telling him I had nothing to give and him contorting his face like I was a bad guy. Yeah, they were totally full of it. Too bad it took so long.

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