COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Newark man has agreed to pay back $3,800 after falsely soliciting charity donations by saying he was a cancer survivor.
John Looker, of Newark, reached a settlement with the Ohio Attorney General to pay $1,800 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. As part of the agreement, he is not allowed to hold any position with any charitable organization and will not participate in any charitable solicitations in the state.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Looker solicited charitable contributions to and for Pelotonia from 2009 through Aug. 5, 2018, under the false pretense that he was a survivor of multiple forms of cancer. In May 2016, Looker hosted an annual yard sale and claimed 100 percent of the proceeds would go to Pelotonia and/or riders taking part in the race. Yost said Looker did not donate the proceeds of the yard sale.
Pelotonia is an Ohio nonprofit organization that hosts a three-day bike tour staged to raise funds for cancer research.
In another incident outlined by Yost, in October 2017, Looker said 100 percent of all proceeds from the sale of homemade cookies would be donated to the Dave VanWassenhove Memorial Scholarship at St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus. Looker did not donate the proceeds to the scholarship fund, Yost said.
The Dave VanWassenhove Memorial Scholarship is available to African American students from the greater Linden area attending DeSales.
The investigation into the claims stemmed from a pair of public complaints made in August 2018 and April 2019.