Arizona man accused of running fake golf charity; over 20 victims come forward
By Amy Cutler
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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (KPHO, KTVK) — Robert Alexander, 57, was arrested and charged, accused of helping raise money for veterans. Instead, Scottsdale police said he pocketed the cash. Since his arrest back in August, Arizona’s Family Investigates obtained police reports showing more than 20 additional people have come forward, some losing tens of thousands of dollars.
Arizona’s Family Investigates spoke with several victims, who say Alexander was charismatic; he seemed to know the right people and played at the most exclusive clubs. They said they let their guard down, and Alexander took advantage of that.
“He ironically just sat down with me, and we started to talk,” Shelly Lamont said. Lamont explained that she met Alexander in June at Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers in Scottsdale. “I thought he was nice, charming,” she continued.
They exchanged phone numbers and began spending time together. We asked how the money aspect of things came up. “He told me he lost his wallet while he was playing golf,” she responded.
Lamont said she lent him $900 at first, saying she was in a vulnerable place. “My mom had suddenly passed and I was kinda left to do everything by myself,” she said. “He just said all the right things, had told me his mom had passed away and had kind of the same, similar things happen with family.” Over the next six weeks, Lamont said he borrowed $4,000, but then cops arrested Alexander.
According to court documents, four people came forward. Two of them told investigators Alexander took their money and claimed he was organizing a golf tournament to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project at the Silverleaf Golf Club in Scottsdale. Police said no such event was ever planned. Alexander is also accused of running a golf ball scheme, claiming he could buy balls at a deep discount and then resell them. He reportedly promised the victims thousands of dollars in profit.
Police arrested Alexander in August. At the time, he was wanted on two felony warrants. Court records show Alexander spent eight years in federal prison for a similar Ponzi-like scheme to resell golf balls. He was released in 2013. “How he could just keep up with the lies is amazing to me,” Lamont said.
When interviewed by investigators, court documents show Alexander said he knew what he did was wrong. He claimed he was “going to use this money to pay bills.”
Since his arrest, Scottsdale police have heard from more than 20 others. Arizona’s Family Investigates went through those police reports, finding they told investigators similar stories. Many of them lost thousands of dollars. One of them told police he helped Alexander set up Zelle on his phone. He handed over more than $10,000.
“There’s always a pattern to these cons,” said Rich Robertson, a longtime private investigator who has worked on similar cases. “They kind of perfect their skills, they perfect their craft, and they learn from their past mistakes. But they still keep engaging in the same activity they’ve always engaged in.”
Alexander has already been sued at least a dozen times and ordered to pay $10 million in restitution. However, Robertson said it’s unlikely any of these latest victims will get their money back.
Arizona’s Family Investigates asked Lamont if there’s a lesson in this for other people. “Well, the lesson is don’t help people and that’s a really crappy lesson,” she said.
Since we first reported Alexander’s arrest, many more charges have been added. They include several counts of theft and fraudulent schemes. His case is set to go to trial in two weeks.
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