An alleged huckster who authorities say took thousands of dollars from customers in a bill pay scheme turned himself in to authorities in Jersey City this morning, the Attorney General’s office said.
Germaine Theodore, who was profiled earlier this month in The Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column, allegedly masterminded a company called Save My Future. The company said it could offer customers a 35 percent discount on bills, customers said, but those bills were never paid.
Theodore was arrested and processed on 14 theft by deception charges, the spokesman said, and a bail hearing is scheduled for this afternoon.
Theodore did not have an attorney with him when he turned himself in, the spokesman said.
Theodore was arrested in Maplewood last fall on a theft by deception charge related to another bill pay company, TGC Movement, which also offered reduce bills by 35 percent.
Authorities previously asked a judge to revoke Theodore’s bail in that case, given the allegations in Jersey City. That hearing is scheduled for Monday, they said.
Customers of the new company, Save My Future, said they were told they’d need to sign up with the company and pay a $35 per month membership fee. They’d give Save My Future a list of bills, and once they gave money — 65 percent of what was owed for the bills — the company would make the payments, adding the other 35 percent.
As of last week, Jersey City police had received 40 complaints from customers who said their bills were not paid.
One of those customers was Lizzette Britt, who said she gave Save My Future money for her June car payment, a Verizon bill and a rent bill, totaling $2,397. Those bills were paid, she said.
But after that, none of her other bills were paid, she said, even though she gave the company $5,263 more.
“I’m relieved and hopefully justice will be served in regards to him taking so many people’s money,” Britt said of the arrest. “You had people losing their homes and having their cars possessed — it’s affected more than me.”
The Save My Future pitch was similar to the one given by TGC Movement to Maplewood customers last fall.
That company — which shared several checking accounts with Save My Future, the Bamboozled column learned — said it could save customers money because of government grants and charitable contributions.
In fact, Theodore claimed he had $10 billion to use to reduce bills for his customers.
That was fast work for a guy who had just gotten out of jail several months before, authorities said.
Public records show Germaine Theodore spent seven years and 15 days behind bars for a host of offenses, including passing bad checks, theft by deception, identity theft, sale of a false driver’s license, forgery and weapons charges.
Press reports at the time said Theodore admitted to almost $100,000 worth of fraud and using the internet to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims.
Six months later, he filed paperwork with the state for TGC Movement, records show.
Have you been Bamboozled? Contact Karin Price Mueller at email@example.com.