A homeless man who served a brief stint in the Army was arrested Monday in Mansfield after he was found to be soliciting and collecting donations for a nonexistent veterans charity.
An off-duty member of the Foxborough Police Department apparently got suspicious when he saw Gary L. Fincher, 52, outside of a grocery store sitting behind “a table covered in flags with homeless veteran pamphlets and business cards’’ according to the Mansfield Police Department.
When Sergeant John Chamberlain approached to ask Fincher which charity he was collecting for, Fincher, who likely did not suspect he was being questioned by law enforcement, promptly provided the name of both the of charity as well as its founder.
In light of an arrest last month in Plainville for a similar charity scam, Sergeant Chamberlain was apparently not swayed by Fincher’s response and took it upon himself to independently verify the charity in question.
A call to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and an Internet search confirmed the suspicions of Sergeant Chamberlain, who then contacted Mansfield Police.
Fincher was arrested after he tried to leave the Stop and Shop on Chauncy Street in Mansfield and was charged with “larceny over $250 by false pretenses and misleading an investigator.’’
A subsequent search of Fincher’s car yielded information that showed he had “fraudulently obtained over ten thousand dollars from this scheme during the recent past,’’ according to Mansfield Police.
Fincher, who referred to himself a “homeless veteran,’’ reportedly claimed he was entitled to solicit the funds because he served in the Army for 29 days more than three decades ago before he was unable to complete basic training.
Fincher was held on $25,000 bail and was expected to be arraigned in Attleboro District Court today.