Suspected Con Artist Targets Edmond Churches

Thursday, January 15th 2009, 6:11 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Edmond police are warning residents about a suspected con artist who has recently targeted the metro.

Alan Farha is 32-years-old, and over the last eight or nine years, he has allegedly conned thousands of dollars from dozens of people moved by his tear-jerker of a story. Officers said he visits churches, synagogues and mosques telling a tale of woe that works more often than not.

Edmond police said last Saturday he hit up at St. Monica's Catholic Church.

"He approached the priest there and asked for an airline ticket. And he said his dad had passed away and gave him a big, sad story. And the priest said I'll give you a bus ticket where you're going but not an airline ticket and not the cash," said Glynda Chu with the Edmond Police Department.

Undeterred, Farha conned a church member into renting him a room at a local hotel and giving him $60. But later Farah got a refund on the room and left.

Farha has reportedly worked this scam in several states in the last few years. But there's no evidence he has ever been prosecuted.

"I say he's conned these people," said NEWS 9 legal analyst Irven Box. "He's given false statements, that of the passing of his father and he needed money, in absolute violation, I think of the law."

But before he can be charged, Alan Farha will have to be found and arrested.

Police said area churches have lots of resources to help people in distress, but they said you should never give cash to people seeking help.