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Man pushing charity in Hernando Beach charged with fraud

HERNANDO BEACH — A 61-year-old man was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with defrauding several businesses and people of hundreds of dollars.

His alleged scam: a charity motorcycle ride that would benefit a teenager with a rare disease who is in need of liver and kidney transplants. It included a raffle where the winner was to get to ride a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle next to NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Terral M. Matlock was charged with organized fraud and was being held Friday night at the Hernando County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. Authorities said he had been renting a home on Crape Myrtle Drive in Hernando Beach for about a month and did not have a permanent residence. He has active warrants for theft in Colorado.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, Matlock's alleged scam came to light when Hernando Beach resident Richard Doyle contacted authorities after he had been asked for a donation for a charity motorcycle ride to benefit the Lowes Syndrome Foundation. Doyle gave authorities a flier for the event, for which he had donated $100.

During their investigation, authorities found that Matlock had approached several businesses along the Hernando coast, including the Beach Bar, Brian's Place, Hernando Beach Realty, the Upper Deck, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Tail Gators and the Sand Trap bar. Owners of those businesses told authorities they had given Matlock donations ranging from $200 to $400 each.

Matlock held the raffle at the Sand Trap, promising the ride with the elite NASCAR driver. He was asking for donations of $25 per person for the "Ride for Life Charity Run."

Authorities said they contacted NASCAR and that the auto-racing organization said it had no affiliation with the event and that Stewart was not scheduled to attend.

An organization called the Lowes Syndrome Association said it had not been notified and was not aware of any event involving Matlock. The mother of the sick teenager also said she was not aware of any charity event involving her son.

Authorities said that when confronted and arrested Friday, Matlock admitted that he produced the fliers and solicited money from local businesses.

He said he spent the money for his own benefit.

Man pushing charity in Hernando Beach charged with fraud 10/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 24, 2008 6:11pm]
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