SAU CFDD
Mar 182009
 

Farha

By Celine Klosterman

A man who allegedly scammed several Davenport-area Catholics out of money recently — claiming he needed it to attend his father’s funeral in Texas — may be the same man who used a similar story to con church members in several other states.

In February, the man cashed a check written to Michael A. Farha II by St. Paul the Apos-tle Church in Davenport. In Oklahoma, a felony arrest warrant was issued Feb. 4 for an Alan Michael Farha on a count of “falsely obtaining money for charity,” said Glynda Chu, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department in the state.

Farha approached several Catholics in the Edmond area seeking money because his father purportedly had just died, according to a story posted Jan. 16 at NewsOK.com, Web site of The Oklahoman.

In February, a man claiming to need money to attend his father’s funeral in Texas approached Catholics in at least four parishes in Davenport and Bettendorf. He received up to $150 from Catholics in at least three parishes, and persuaded other parishioners to give him rides to hotels and churches in the Quad-Cities.

He also claimed to be a University of Iowa student who attends the Newman Catholic Student Center or St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, and a graduate of the nonexistent “National Catholic University.”

A “con artist” identified as Alan Farha II took thousands of dollars from residents and churchgoers in Columbia, Mo., according to an April 2008 story in the Columbia Tribune. The newspaper reported that he claimed he needed money to attend his father’s funeral in Texas and that he was a university student.

Stories of Farha also have been reported in West Virginia, New York and Chicago, according to the Tribune.

Alan Michael Farha or Alan M. Farha is listed as a defendant in four cases in 2007 and 2008 on Missouri’s courts Web site.

Davenport and Bettendorf police said they have no local record of someone with the last name Farha.

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