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Scam Watch

September 14, 2008|David Colker

The pitch: Come to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation International Training Workshop!

The scam: The invitations to the workshop went out by e-mail and, indeed, looked inviting. After all, the foundation, started by the founder of Johnson & Johnson, is one of the most prestigious and wealthy in the world specializing in health matters. Just one problem: "There is no such conference or 'Summit' as described in the e-mail," says a warning on the foundation's website.

The payoff: People who got the e-mail were told to send a registration fee to Dr. Norman Trevor of Togo in West Africa. The money, of course, would never reach the foundation.

The history: This isn't the first time the foundation has been hit with a scam. In 2006 one of its employees admitted in federal court that he had taken advantage of the foundation's policy of giving as much as $5 for every $1 that a staff member donated to a charity. That employee gave generously to a charity of which he happened to be the founder and sole beneficiary, and collected more than $300,000 before getting caught.

-- David Colker

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