LITHONIA, Ga. — A former Atlanta police officer who spent 30 years on the force fighting fraud is now fighting crime in a whole new way.
Retired Atlanta Police Sgt. Stanford Pearson said a scammer used his company name to defraud a DeKalb County church out of tens of thousands of dollars in 2018.
Pearson said Channel 2’s Michael Seiden this accused fraudster struck a million dollar deal to build a new building at a local church.
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Court documents show that the work never took place. An investigation revealed that the same fraudster was pulling permits under another company’s name.
Now the alleged fraudster is dead and Pearson could be owed tens of thousands of dollars for a contract he never agreed to.
“I’m just floored by it,” Pearson told Seiden.
After 30 years in the force, Pearson turned his badge into a tool belt and built Sunrise Construction Company into a successful business.
This company is now in the background after it was named a defendant in a civil suit.
“I was sued for a construction project I was building, a $1.2 million commercial church in Lithonia, Georgia,” he explained.
Confused by the allegations, Pearson launched his own investigation.
“I knew I had never been on the property. I knew I had never heard of the church or any of the people involved in the lawsuit,” he said.
It was then that Pearson learned that a man visiting his church, Juan Crosby, had contracted with another church to build their building without Pearson’s knowledge.
According to police reports, Crosby entered into a contract with First St. Paul AME Church to construct their building. He also applied for two permits under Pearson’s company name without his permission.
“This gentleman went there without my credentials or credentials, no ID, no construction company credentials and was able to get a demolition permit in my company name “, said Pearson. “It’s clearly fraud, and I never thought it would reach this level.”
A judge ordered Pearson and a group of contractors to pay the church more than $25,000 in damages.
Pearson says he tried to contact Crosby, but found he died in 2020.
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Lawyers for the church declined Seiden’s request for comment.
Pearson and his lawyers are appealing the judge’s decision and hope to see the lawsuit thrown out as soon as possible.
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