Arrested Sarasota man allegedly offered fake $3M donation to Dick Vitale's cancer charity
The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office says it has arrested on a charge of fraud a man who claimed to be helping out with post-Ian relief but tried to deceive sportscaster Dick Vitale and others along the way.
What's happening: Deputies say Robert Schnepf, 48, a two-time convicted felon, used the name Robert Banagino when trying to fraudulently purchase some $23 million in real estate and a 2022 Mercedes Benz S-Class for $132,042.79 last week.
- Schnepf, as Banagino, said he was a New York businessman visiting in response to Hurricane Ian, and claimed he had over $127 million in his account that he needed to donate for tax purposes, per the Sheriff's Office.
Yes, but: It was all a hoax, and sportscaster Dick Vitale was one of its targets, authorities say.
- Vitale runs the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, to which Schnepf pledged to donate $3 million. Schnepf accepted a signed basketball from him but refused to take a photo with Vitale, according to deputies.
What they're saying: "I believed that we had $3 Million for kids vs cancer," Vitale tweeted. "I am sick to think in my house he was hugging my wife & I & so happy."
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