Is This Houston Woman Running a Nationwide Scam?
Kimberly Humphrey of South Carolina had a simple and noble goal: She wanted to start a nonprofit group, Teens of Power, to "encourage [t]eens to continually excel in their personal lives and environment."
The dream got derailed, she says, when she entrusted a Houston woman to incorporate the group as a 501(c)(3). Humphrey says the woman, Denise Betts-Moore, who allegedly runs a company called Legacy Financial, took Humphrey's $975 and never provided services. Humphrey then researched Betts-Moore online and found a woman in Arizona who had accused Betts-Moore of screwing her out of $3,000. Could it all be a misunderstanding? We checked Betts-Moore out, and would like to add something to the record.
Although Humphrey provided texts showing her repeated efforts to get a refund, and Betts-Moore's repeated excuses, we wanted to hear the latter's side. But Betts-Moore declined to answer questions and instead told us we'd hear from her lawyer, although she wouldn't provide her lawyer's name.
Moore also hung up on the Arizona reporters who asked her about her former client's claim. According to that news report, a woman named Beverly Green had a dream of opening a daycare center. She told reporters she called Betts-Moore after hearing her ad on the radio. According to the story, "Green had rented a building. The signs and flyers for her business were printed. She'd purchased thousands of dollars worth of toys, books and teaching materials. She'd even received her license to legally do business." All she needed now was "a little bit of capital."
"Green says Betts-Moore promised to secure at least $250,000 worth of grant money to get her child care center started. All Green had to do was pay a $3,000 fee up front," according to the story. After Green received a letter saying she had been approved for the grant, "she never received any money, and Denise Betts-Moore wasn't returning her calls.
When we checked out Betts-Moore's record, we could sort of see why. Here's what we found: Denise Lapearl Moore was ordered by a Fort Bend County judge to pay $1,821 to her landlord by May 30, 2014, to avoid eviction. She and hubby Brandon Wade Moore had already been evicted twice from Missouri City apartments for not paying rent.
She was also indicted in Fort Bend County in 2012 for theft of property in 2011. The charge was dismissed in November 2013 after Betts-Moore made full restitution.
Another theft charge -- this time theft by check -- was filed in Bexar County in 2004, but dismissed in February 2014 because a witness could not be located.
Betts-Moore was also charged in 2000 Comanche County, Oklahoma, with writing a bogus check; the charge was dismissed 13 years later when she paid restitution.
Although Betts-Moore wasn't in the mood to talk to us, she was apparently more conversant with her mother: Humphrey told us that she received a call from Betts-Moore's mother, saying that she would pay Humphrey back -- and also suggesting that she was considering suing Humphrey for slander. We called Betts-Moore's mother to find out more, but, like her daughter, she just told us we'd hear from some phantom lawyer.
Lo and behold, we did hear from this lawyer, Patricia M. Davis, who told us on May 30 "the parties have reached an agreement amongst themselves" and that the matter is "resolved." Davis declined to discuss Betts-Moore's evictions and records in Fort Bend, Bexar, and Comanche counties.
Humphrey told us shortly after we spoke with Davis that this stuff about a resolution was news to her. "Nothing is resolved until I get $975," Humphrey said.
She told us that, while she was mad that Teens of Power may take longer to get off the ground, she had forgiven Betts-Moore. Humphrey wrote on her Facebook, "I don't know what has gone wrong in your life that you would steal money from people...who are trying to do God's will." She also wrote, "My teen foundation that you stole from will triumph because it is built on God's will and word."
So, hey, if you're looking to incorporate, we're not saying you shouldn't obtain Betts-Moore's services. We just wanted to flesh things out a little -- and, without the help of Betts-Moore, her mother or their attorney to offer some sort of explanation, this is the best we could do.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.