Former Tar Heel basketball player under investigation for charity fraud

8:17 PM 08:22 PM EDT on Thursday, May 11, 2006

By STUART WATSON / 6NEWS

A former Carolina basketball player has been accused of raising money under false pretenses for a charity group home. Former Tar Heel and Gamecock Larry Davis held a golf tournament to benefit a group home for troubled teens. But Stuart Watson and the 6NEWS Investigators found Davis never opened such a home. We confronted Davis about where the money went. Davis is happy to talk about his days as a Tar Heel. Davis played guard as part of the '93 national championship team at North Carolina. But he’s not happy to answer questions from the 6NEWS Investigators about his charity Carolina Community Connection. Davis walked away from our camera and promised to respond to questions about how much money he raised and where it was spent, but he never returned phone calls and an e-mail repeatedly asking for the numbers. Davis was named a legend in the Southeastern Conference for his record with the Gamecocks of South Carolina where he played after his days as a Tar Heel. Two years ago, Davis used his basketball connections to raise money for the charity he founded for a pair of group homes for kids in need. In August of 2004, Davis held a charity golf tournament in Rock Hill to raise money for the homes. A pamphlet promoting the tournament claimed Davis had "two fully furnished residential treatment facilities." Another brochure includes color photos of kids and touts a "caring staff" to meet the needs of "clients." But 6NEWS found one of the homes near Lincolnton that Davis planned to use was empty and overgrown with weeds. A second home in Shelby has since been sold. 6NEWS asked Davis how much money he raised and where it was spent. He said he would get the information for us but he never did. Davis slammed the door to his SUV and drove away as we tried to ask him why he claimed he had a “residential treatment facility” when he never got a license for such a facility from the state. North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said, “That’s basically fraud and deception, in addition to the fact that they weren't licensed.” Last week the solicitation licensing branch in Marshall’s office ordered Davis to cease and desist raising money for the charity and fined him $2,000 for taking "contributions by false pretenses." Marshall said, “The fraudulent deceptive statements were that they had group facilities when in fact, they didn't.” The state's solicitations licensing section found Davis raised $3,425 from the golf tournament. But Marshall said, “We do have reason to believe that the cost of the golf tournament exceeded the money that they took in.” Davis never got a license from the state to solicit funds for the charity. It’s unclear whether he received other contributions because he's yet to produce records. Davis has two months to appeal the state's ruling or pay a $2,000 fine.

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