A BIZARRE trail of fake names, unregistered charities and online intimidation hide the real identity of an alleged international scam artist.
Charlie Warren, an animal activist from a group called Tracking and Conservation, said a friend had warned him that there were messages online saying that a man was soliciting donations in Warren’s name. These requests were from someone called Joseph Dimetri, who said he was connected to Warren.
“I am not and do not want to be associated with them in any way,” said Warren.
Several websites and online forums accuse Dimetri of using a fake animal rights charity to ask for donations. He apparently uses several pseudonyms including Jean Marie, Claude Roberto, James Williams, Jonas Alf, Claude Marcel, Claude Joseph Marcel and Jon Grotes.
A blog, created and written by a Jean Marie, said Dimetri is a co-founder of the International Animal Rescue Foundation (IARF). The blog states that the two started another animal rights group on Facebook before launching IARF.
“Unfortunately Facebook saw us as ‘extremists’ and closed three of our groups down, all in the name of animal, environmental and climatological welfare,” said the blog.
The IARF’s website says it does not accept donations, but those wanting to donate can do so through the “mission”, Funding African Wildlife Survival (Faws). Donations can only be made through PayPal, an electronic money transfer site.
The link for information is a Facebook page, which offers no information and the only contact detail is a link back to the IARF website.
The website provides no details of any IARF members and no contact details other than a UK e-mail address.
However, an online search into the website’s domain details revealed that its IP address, which represents a device’s location, is in Karlsruhe, Germany. The search also said it was registered in October last year under the name Jon Summerfield.
Charity database searches for both the IARF and Faws did not produce results in the UK or South Africa. The closest charity found was International Animal Rescue (IAR), removed from the national register in the UK in 2008. The IARF website states that it is not affiliated with IAR.
The IARF blog also uploads accusations of fraud made by others against the organisation, which are then denied.
“Ms Munro (a complainant) we asked you to leave us alone or WE WOULD seek legal action against you, find your address and sue you. We have just done that,” a blog entry said. Below this is a postal address. There are several other posts of addresses and intimidation. “YOU WAS TOLD TO LEAVE (US) ALONE YOU HAVE NOT AND STILL CARRIED ON TELLING LIES SO WE WILL NOW TAKE THIS TO THE NEXT F****** STEP – YOU LIE ABOUT ME I WILL EXPOSE YOU BASTARDS YOU WILL NOT GET RID OF ME NOW,” said one post by Jean Marie.
An e-mail was sent to the IARF’s address, given on the site, but no response had been received by the time of going to print.