Couple charged after soliciting donations from community - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Brunswick Co. couple charged after soliciting donations from community

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Stephanie Woods Thomas (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office) Stephanie Woods Thomas (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)
The program manager at the Brunswick Family Assistance Agency says they were scammed. The program manager at the Brunswick Family Assistance Agency says they were scammed.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Detectives with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office arrested two people Wednesday who were previously arrested in connection to a house fire that happened back in September.

According to the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Stephanie Woods Thomas, 37, of Supply, was arrested for solicitation to obtain property by false pretense and obtaining property by false pretense.

Jason Terry Rollins, 31, of Supply, was charged with conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense.

Thomas was retained for a short time in the Brunswick County Detention Facility and was released under a $10,000 bond.

Rollins remains in the Brunswick County Detention Facility under a $56,000 bond.

According to warrants, Stephanie Thomas knowingly solicited with the intent to cheat and defraud to obtain furniture, clothing and cash money from a group of people on Facebook by means of false pretense, which was calculated to deceive and did deceive.

The false pretense was a public plea for assistance on face book and providing a savings account number for purposes of depositing cash funds.

It also states that she obtained goods and services and financial assistance from Brunswick Family Assistance Agency.

Lora Moree is the Program Manager and she was the intake worker when Thomas asked for assistance.

Thomas told her that her family's home burned down and she needed help.

Moree says they gave Thomas nearly $400 in food, vouchers, and even cash for her bills.

Then, when Moree saw our report that Thomas had been arrested for arson, she decided to press charges for fraud.

"We're very offended. Very hurt," said Moree. "We see people in need at the bottom of the barrel and to have someone make up that kind of story, it's heart wrenching and we're angry."

Moree says they still plan to help everyone in the community regardless of what happened. However, she did mention that they may think harder about each applicant moving forward. Moree hopes this is a lesson to other agencies or donors before they help people during the upcoming holiday season.

Thomas and Rollins were arrested in Bolivia and charged with arson in October. The pair convinced a manager at a Walgreens in Shallotte to raise money for them after the fire. The manager confirmed they collected about $40 for the family.

When the collected money was handed over to the Thomas family, the manager said the couple used the money to buy cigarettes from the same store.

The store has since removed the jar and will no longer accept donations for anyone.

Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.

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