Monday, November 28, 2011

CHURCH FRAUD SUSPECT: From Columbia may have resurfaced in Texas

COLUMBIA, 11/28/11 (Beat Byte) -- A suspected con artist Columbia police claim stole over $10,000 from area businesses and churches in 2008 may have re-emerged in Lubbock, Texas, say police and synagogue members there.

Using the name "Alan Farahat," the man has been soliciting donations from Jewish congregations claiming to be a Syrian Jew whose parents died after hitting an explosive device in Syria while trying to bring his 92-year-old grandmother out of the strife-torn country. She survived, the story goes, and Farahat has been seeking $200 for plane fare to visit her in Israel. 

After details of Farahat's story didn't add up, including his lack of knowledge about Syrian customs and politics, Congregation Shaareth Israel members discovered he bore striking resemblance to Alan Farha, who made the rounds of Columbia charities, churches, and businesses three years ago with a similar hard-luck tale seeking donations. Among Farha's local victims were 17 churches, dozens of churchgoers, and a handful of downtown business owners including Bob Wood of Dawson Shoe Repair

Farha said his father had died when he was actually living in Georgetown, Texas at the time, and also claimed Middle Eastern origins. In Columbia, Farha said he was Lebanese. 

Charged in Boone County with seven counts of misdemeanor stealing in May 2008 and later arrested in Florida, Farha was never extradited back to Boone. His whereabouts since that time have not been reported.  


  1. He's now been seen in Knoxville, Tennessee and scammed a big church for $1500.

  2. We believe he was in our worship service Sunday AM Sept. 23 in Knoxville,but he looked suspect and he became nervous and left shortly.

  3. He took members of my congregation in West Knoxville for $200. He had the same story and he made it seem very convincing. Though, when pressed for his back story it seemed fishy. I pulled him away and asked for an address and he gave me an apartment in Memphis as his address. I later drove him to a local establishment where he told me he was waiting for a friend to take him to the airport. He had no bags with him.