2 charged with collecting money in Aiken for fake funeral - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Investigators: Woman charged with soliciting money used someone else's identity

(Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety) (Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety)
(Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety) (Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety)
AIKEN, SC (WFXG) -

Update: An Augusta woman charged with soliciting money for a fake funeral was using someone else's identity, according to the Aiken Department of Public of Safety.

Lebrooke Shannice Smith, 20, was arrested Wednesday in Aiken after deputies say she and a man were asking drivers on Fabian Drive for money to bury a family member. Smith told deputies her name was Kendra Lachell Morris.

Investigators discovered her real identity Friday afternoon using fingerprints, according to the sheriff's office. Smith is now facing an identity fraud charge.

Smith and Zachary Lacasey Sims, 20, were originally charged with obtaining money by false pretenses and soliciting without a license. Investigators say the two were holding signs that read "Help me bury my mom!! Please donate!" on Fabian Drive in Aiken.

When investigators interviewed Smith and Sims separately, they each provided a different name and funeral home of the alleged deceased family member. Investigators say they checked with the funeral homes and there were no deceased people there by either of those names.

One of the suspects admitted that the scheme was fraudulent and told investigators that they were using the money to pay their bills.

Original story: Two Augusta residents are facing charges after Aiken Public Safety investigators say they were soliciting money from drivers in Aiken for a fake funeral.

Lebrooke Shannice Smith, 20, and Zachary Lacasey Sims, 20, are each charged with obtaining money by false pretenses and soliciting without a license, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Investigators say Smith and Sims were asking drivers on Fabian Drive in Aiken for money Wednesday. They told the drivers they needed the money to bury a family member.

Smith and Sims were holding signs that said "Help me bury my mom!" and collecting money in Halloween pumpkins. Investigators say the pair collected several hundred dollars. 

Investigators say they spoke to Smith and Sims separately, and they each provided a different name and funeral home of the alleged deceased family member. Investigators say they checked with the funeral homes and there were no deceased people there by either of those names.

One of the suspects admitted that the scheme was fraudulent and told investigators that they were using the money to pay their bills.

The City of Aiken has an ordinance against people soliciting without first obtaining a license, officials said. The license ensures that the individuals are representing an organization or have a legitimate cause for obtaining the money.

Copyright 2013 WFXG. All rights reserved

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