CANTON, GA -- The 11-member Special Olympics equestrian Team, due to compete in downstate Perry, Ga., in mid-August has been thrown a sudden curve.
The team learned that two $500 credit card donations to buy supplies and fund travel were made with stolen credit cards.
"We noticed there was some gibberish under the name and address but we assumed this person wanted to remain anonymous and so we went ahead and made plans for that $1,000," said the team's trainer Bethany Nugent. "We spent some of it on supplies for the team. About 3 1/2 weeks later I got a call -- just last week -- from my credit card company, saying that the card had been stolen and used frequently to make the donations. We had to reimburse the money to the bank right away."
Despite the fraud, Nugent and her staff patiently and methodically volunteer their expertise to get these youngsters ready for stiff competition.
They made immediate changes to their website to make sure this type of fraud wouldn't happen again, but the money they thought was donated was lost. She said the scammers tried twice this week to again fraudulently donate funds, but they were successfully blocked.
"When somebody chose our charity, we thought this was great. They like what we are doing and when we find out it was bogus--it's heartbreaking," Nugent said.
America's Best Franchising -- a major hotel chain -- came through with funds the team needed to head to Perry with 11 confident, well trained and excited youngsters.
For more information, visit their website at http://www.beats-inc.org.