The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office is warning churches and residents about donating to Women of Diversity Ministries.
The group is seeking donations and sponsors to help run a recovery house at the former Budgetel in Bossier City.
The ministry's directors told KSLA News 12 they'd be in danger of closing if they were unable to buy the building to cut their expenses.
In 2014, Executive Director Brenda Hill was arrested in Caddo Parish and convicted of bank fraud involving an organization using the name Women of Diversity LLC, the Sheriff's Office reports.
She was sentenced to seven years then paroled in January 2016. She will remain on parole until 2021.
Jeannie Herman is listed as the organization's assistant executive director.
Because of that history, Bossier authorities said, churches and residents should be cautious about donating to the organization.
A news release from the Sheriff's Office includes the following statement from Sheriff Julian Whittington:
“I feel we have a responsibility and duty to caution the residents of Bossier Parish of this organization and their fraudulent past.
“The executive director has a history of scamming people and has been charged and convicted of fraud and financial crimes while conducting business under a similar name.
"As sheriff, I want to ensure our residents are aware of this information so they can avoid becoming victims as well.”
“Our residents are very giving and caring individuals who are always willing to help those less fortunate.
"However, when we see folks operating in our parish who have made a living scamming others, I will not hesitate to issue a warning to help folks from becoming a potential victim of fraud.”
Whittington sent the same warning in a letter to all Bossier Parish churches.
That letter states that neither woman is charged with any crimes in connection with this group but have been arrested and convicted of various matters in the past.
Herman said her group is aware of the letter and described it as shocking.
When contacted by KSLA News 12, Hill said her attorney would send a statement to the station Thursday morning.
No statement has been received.
Bossier sheriff's detectives still are investigating.
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