Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beware of Scheming Allegede Masons Peddling a Government Grant


Have you been receiving solicitations to apply for a federal grant from certain Facebook profiles of alleged members of the Masonic family?

Is the name of the new program, The Federal Government Empowerment program?

After receiving three solicitations from three profiles that appeared to be Master Masons, I decided to do some investigating. Being a certified Grant Writer and Consultant and operating a Nonprofit Services company, I had never heard of the program or the grant.

Whenever the Federal Government decides to allocate funds via grants, there will be an RFP or Request for Proposal sent out to various State agencies for listing or they will list them on their own website, grants.gov. Never will the Federal Government do third party solicitations for any of their RFPs.

I found out that the group is working through a website:
http://governmentgrant.com/

The issue arises when one visits the website and find this as a disclaimer:


"Please note that GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM a private website and is not associated with the U.S. government or any agency or department thereof. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM is a private advertising portal for third parties who advertise financial and grant related information. We may receive a commission or other remuneration from these third parties. Government grants may be obtained directly from the United States government and departments thereof, for free, without professional assistance at www.grants.gov, however qualification and other eligibility requirements may be required. This site is for general information purposes only and you should consult with a professional advisor or government official prior to applying for any financial assistance or government grants of any kind."



The "agents" doing the solicitations actually state that they are connected to the Community of Federal Domestic Assistance, which is another mistake, because that agency has a website:
https://www.cfda.gov/

The website has a disclaimer regarding "Unsolicited Contact". Their policy states:

"What should I do if I receive unsolicited contact from someone claiming to be a CFDA representative?

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program does not use social media or contact individuals by phone to solicit, review, or make awards. Additionally, no government staff will call or message you requesting money in order to be eligible for an award. Please report any information and documentation that you have related to this incident to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and your local law enforcement authorities."
Here is the solicitation used by one profile:
  • John Hairston


    It is, thanks for asking...Same extended...

    Where do you hail from?
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:39pm
    Grady Cherry


    Good I've try to reach you but couldn't get through you. I have something to share with you
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:40pm
    John Hairston


    Sure...
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:40pm
    Grady Cherry


    I was just wondering if you heard anything about CFDA (COMMUNITY FINANCIAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE)grants
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:40pm
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:41pm
    Grady Cherry


    It's a new program from federal government to encourage the empowerment of human right and poverty reduction. They help and support people who are interested in receiving fund for their business and personal use. Are you sure you have not hear about this yet?
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:42pm
    John Hairston


    No, but I will do some research on it...
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:47pm
    Grady Cherry


    Four people that i know got a grant and there tax refund from the federal government,and I also personally got it too,I am so happy I got $70,000,00USD in cash from the federal government

After explaining who I was and what I knew, the profile blocked me from being able to further expose the scheme. The same with this profile:



  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 6:56am
    Frank Alston


    Hi, how are you doing today ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:34am
    John Hairston


    I am good, You?
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:50am
    Frank Alston


    I'm doing pretty good, hope you are good over there?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:50am
    John Hairston


    No doubt...
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:50am
    Frank Alston


    That's good to hear , how is your family been ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:51am
    John Hairston


    Been good...Yours?
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:52am
    Frank Alston


    I'm good and very happy did i tell you that i won money from new federal government empowerment program?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:54am
    John Hairston


    I have already had the program presented to me by two other Brothers.
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:56am
    Frank Alston


    Really ?

    Tell me more about it then
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:57am
    John Hairston


    CFDA (COMMUNITY FINANCIAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE)grants

    It's a new program from federal government to encourage the empowerment of human right and poverty reduction. They help and support people who are interested in receiving fund for their business and personal use.

    Trust me, I have been presented with the program...
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:58am
    Frank Alston


    Wow! so have you gotten your prize from them

    ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 8:01am
    John Hairston


    No, I haven't applied. I am a certified Grant Writer and Consultant...The program is not everything that they say it is...Trust me...
    For example...If there was a grant for that type of program, Grants.gov would have it listed on their site. As a Grant Writer and Consultant, I have access to RFPs that the common citizen has no clue of...I am registered with Puget Sound Grant Writer's Association....
    Now, give me the link to the program you are talking about...

    • John Hairston
    • 8/25, 8:04am
      John Hairston


      I was already aware that the program was a scam. I am too involved in Grant business to not have heard of the program...So when I investigated it, the facts came out that the government isn't offering the Grant, and I can bet you can't tell me which Federal Department awarded you the grant, and show me the award letter...
    • Frank Alston
      8/25, 8:05am
    • John Hairston
      8/25, 8:06am
      John Hairston


      They actually tell you this on the site:
      Please note that GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM a private website and is not associated with the U.S. government or any agency or department thereof. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information.

      So how can it be connected to the Federal Government?



After this conversation, I was blocked from the profile. Then today this profile attempted to try and present the scheme from a totally different angle:



  • Today
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:31pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    I'm doing just fine thanks,good to hear that from you i have something to share with you
  • John Hairston
    4:32pm
    John Hairston


    Not the Grant money presentation is it?
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:33pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    no what that all about ?
  • John Hairston
    4:33pm
    John Hairston


    Therr has been some PHA brothers trying to get brothers and sisters tied into a grant scheme...

    what you got for me?
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:34pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    i was also told that did you apply

    ?
  • John Hairston
    4:34pm
    John Hairston


    It is a scheme
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:35pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    yes

    i am going to apply for grant
  • John Hairston
    4:38pm
    John Hairston


    Good luck, I am a certified Grant Writer and Consultant. I have a membership with the Puget Sound Grant Writers Association and Grants.gov...I can assure you it is a fraudulent presentation
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:39pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    so you mean i cant apply ?


Right before I could post the website for the fraud alert, this profile blocked me as well. Here is what Grants.Gov has to say about the alleged CFDA agents and third-party solicitors:


Scam Alert from the Federal Service Desk

June 3, 2015 - The Federal Service Desk (FSD) has recently been receiving claims from the public that CFDA agents have contacted them claiming that in order for the recipient to claim federal grant money they must first send the CFDA agent personal information or money.

Although the CFDA agent claims to be with the Community for Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) or a similarly named organization, and not the federally-run Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), they do represent themselves as agents of CFDA.

CFDA does not use social media or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards.

If you hear of anyone being contacted in this way, please advise them to pass all information to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and their local law enforcement authorities.

So, if you are being contacted about this grant, it is a scam and fraudulent. It is my sincere hope that the profiles used were hacked, and that those Brothers were not involved in attempting to lure unsuspecting Masons and Eastern Stars into a fraudulent scheme utilizing the Federal Government as a cover.


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