Thursday, August 30, 2012

Greensboro Cops Investigate Local Minister/Self-Proclaimed Homeless Advocate/Ex-Con For Allegedly Running Rent Scams

In Greensboro, North Carolina, Yes! Weekly reports:

  • A minister and self-professed advocate for the homeless has been accused of defrauding at risk individuals for personal gain, including by two people who said he still owes them money in Greensboro.

    Ronnie Lee Chrisp, 48, allegedly posed as a property manager, collecting security deposits and rent from people who trusted him as an advocate. Greensboro police are actively investigating Chrisp, spokesperson Susan Danielsen said.

    Chrisp once worked at Urban Ministry and has recently filed for bankruptcy twice.

    Roger Fitzgerald, who collects disability, was looking for a new place to live after the house he was living in went into foreclosure. A friend put him in touch with Chrisp, whom he recognized from Urban Ministry. After seeing the apartment Chrisp was offering on Huffman Street, Fitzgerald said he provided proof of income showing how much disability assistance he received monthly, then gave a $200 cash deposit and $675 in rent.

    When it came time to move in June 1, Fitzgerald said he couldn’t reach Chrisp. After several excuses from Chrisp, Fitzgerald said he looked up the property owner and found out Chrisp wasn’t authorized to lease the apartment.

    After contacting the police, Fitzgerald said Chrisp began to pay him in small amounts of anywhere from $10 to $100. Fitzgerald filed fraud charges and continues to periodically meet Chrisp to receive small payments, which he said totaled less than $300 of the $875 he is owed.
  • Jenny Hudson, the office manager at the Interactive Resource Center, a homeless day center, said “quite a few” of the homeless people they serve have had problems with Chrisp.

    Unfortunately he thrived on folks that were at the bottom of the barrel,” Hudson said. “He should be ashamed of himself. It really sickens me to know that there are people out there that will take advantage of somebody so quickly and not even think about the crisis that you’re putting them in.”

    Greensboro police are investigating but there are no warrants for his arrest. Danielsen said Chrisp had a lengthy arrest history but that her records didn’t show if he was convicted and said the charges were unrelated to fraud.

    Chrisp’s most recent bankruptcy filing was dismissed Aug. 13. His standing trustee Anita Troxler recommended his Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing be dismissed after “the debtor failed to appear at the meeting of creditors on July 23, 2012, and has defaulted in required plan payments as of July 23, 2012,” court documents show.

    In 1999, Chrisp was released after a nearly four year prison term for common-law robbery, conspiracy and possession of a firearm by a felon. He had previously served time after being convicted for larceny in 1995.

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