A group from Las Vegas is running a phony grant-writing scheme in the Bellevue/Seattle area, and small businesses are targets.
The business name is Foundation Research Inc. and for a "non-refundable" deposit of $3,000, their firm promises to research sources and apply for federal grants for small-business owners. Once they receive the deposit, the corporation is shut down and the money disappears.
This group has used at least 10 other corporate names including: Small Business Funding Company, Small Business Funding Services, The Grant People, The Grant Place, The Corporate People and Grant Resources.
Recently, Foundation Research advertised a seminar at the Bellevue Marriott. Their "speaker" claimed to be a national radio personality "Jay Ellis, The Money Man."
Bellevue Police detectives discovered that "Ellis" was actually Jonas E. Bowen, a convicted felon and professional con artist. Detectives contacted Bowen and, after a brief interview, he agreed to cancel the seminar.
Still, representatives of the group collected names of business owners who showed up for the canceled seminar, and the group will probably continue to attempt to solicit funds via phone and e-mail.
If you think you have been a victim of this type of scam, contact the Bellevue Police Department at 425-577-5656. Ask for the Fraud Unit.
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