Hispanic Businesses on Cherokee Fall Prey to Soccer Scam
|The charity soccer match, publicized on Cherokee Street, never happened.|
And it never happened. The promoter was a fraud.
Hector Medina, owner of Tacqueria El Torito, says he bought radio spots to trumpet the event. He sold about 300 tickets at prices ranging from $20 to $50.
Across the street, Carlos Dominguez's La Carniceria Latino Americana also sold tickets.
However, Minerva Lopez, owner of the soccer shop called Gooolll!, had a bad feeling when the promoter called her in search of another sponsor. She remembers asking which players were coming.
The scammer replied that Manuel Sol was coming. Lopez was surprised. She happens to be personal friends with Sol.
"The [scammer] never called me back," Lopez recalls. But she did a little digging and called her soccer player friend, who said he'd not even heard of the upcoming event. Then, Lopez got a call from an official at the soccer park, who informed her that no such charity match was scheduled on the date in question.
Just a day or two before the match, word spread that the community has been hoodwinked.
Medina says the scammer only collected money for 100 of his tickets. He reimbursed those customers out of his own pocket. All told, he says he lost $6,000. He filed a police report, and has been contacted by the FBI. But he seemed to be taking the loss in stride.
"To me," he tells Daily RFT, "it's better than if somebody had come with a gun and said, 'Give me everything.'"