Non-profit reacts to Hurricane Michael fraud guilty pleas

By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 27, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – In the chaos that followed Hurricane Michael, too many took advantage of the needy.

The latest example came Thursday, when the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida announced plea deals for three men accused of stealing thousands.

Mission 850 coordinator Dot Wagner said she's heard these stories all too often.

"I've encountered people throughout the panhandle who have the same story over and over again," she said.

The Tallahassee-based group organizes volunteer groups to travel west and help make meaningful repairs to homeowners desperate for good news.

But Wager said cases like this one make it harder for groups like Mission 850 to make a difference. She said they often have to win over skeptics nervous about falling for a trap.

"We really do have to show up at their property with humility and say we're here to help," she said.

That help is still in high demand. Wagner said about 2,000 homeowners are on a waiting list requesting some sort of volunteer repair work.

Check out the Mission 850 website to learn how you can help.

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