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Police Bust Fake Fundraisers

Raising money for an organization or cause is commendable. But as two men learned from Westport police, raising money for an organization is only commendable if the fundraising is legitimate.

Norwalk resident Matthew Deedon and Derby resident Troy Stephens were arrested Friday morning after trying to raise funds for a calendar benefitting the Staples High School Athletics Department, Lt. Vincent Penna said.

At about 10:30 a.m., police responded to a call from the manager at Dress Code that a man was soliciting funds for a calendar. According to Penna, the manager told police that another merchant had told her that the fundraiser was a scam.

Having been warned, the manager reportedly told the man that she would donate money but needed him to come back in 10 minutes to collect the funds. After the man agreed and left the store, the manager called police.

Upon arrival, police found Deedon, 45, and Stephens, 39, in a car outside the store. A search of their car turned up narcotics packaging and other drug paraphernalia. Fliers and brochures detailing fundraising packages that businesses could buy to support Staples athletics were also found. The fundraising packages ranged from $225 to $1,000.

According to Penna, Marty Lisevick, the athletic director at Staples, confirmed that no one was authorized to solicit for the program and no fundraising was being done now.

Deedon was charged with fifth-degree criminal attempted larceny and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $5,000. Stephens was charged with fifth-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. His bond was set at $1,000.

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