Con artist behind bars for scamming local businesses

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

ALTOONA, Wisc. (WEAU) -- A devious con artist wanted on fraud charges in more than one state is now behind Eau Claire County bars.

Altoona police say Sean Kean Davis of Florida was soliciting local businesses last week for $150 donations. He told the businesses the money was for a children's cancer walk.

Police say turns out it was all a hoax; Monday charges of theft by false representation were filed in Eau Claire County court.

Police say they know of at least five businesses, including Happy Hollow and Milwaukee Burger Company who were scammed or at least solicited for money by Davis. But police say they suspect there are even more victims out there, who haven't yet filed complaints.

Whiskey's Grill and Bar owner Brad Windeshausen is used to being asked for money for different benefits, but even he says he was impressed with Sean Davis' smooth style.

“Very smooth, knows what he was doing, sounded completely legit. Very charming individual, tan, very well dressed,” Windeshausen tells us.

Windeshausen says while Davis spun a tale about his brother that passed away from childhood cancer, he was very vague about details regarding which organization was putting on the childhood cancer run/walk. And that was why he called Altoona police.

“Just kind of led me to believe, just some of the things didn't add up, wanted to get this guy checked out,” Windeshausen says.

“It's troubling anytime somebody is a using a legitimate organization, especially a children's cancer research as a way to get money out of people, it’s pretty sad,” Altoona Police investigator Scott Kelley tells us.

Kelley says this type of fraud isn't common in the Chippewa Valley, but there are things to look out for.

“Just basic common sense, if somebody comes in and they don’t have any paperwork that supports the event, lots of time if there is an event there will be a brochure or some type of paperwork,” Kelley advises.

Unfortunately, Windeshausen says because of Davis local businesses may be more reluctant to give in the future.

“Their needs are not going to go away, but if there are people like this going around scamming businesses and individuals, sometimes it's going to make raising that money more difficult,” Windeshausen says.

Altoona Police say if this particular scam sounds familiar, you should report it to your local police department.

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  • by Just me on Feb 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM
    Very interesting how there are not any rude comments directed at the people who were taken by this man. But when a man get's money from a woman he is smoothe talking, you have many many rude comments to the women for being dumb and lonely and such... sad that we have to have double standards in times like this.
  • by Just me on Feb 17, 2012 at 07:16 AM
    Very interesting
  • by Ray Location: C.F> on Feb 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
    This "slickster" worked his way around in Barron Co. last year offering driveway seal coating, and who knows what other scam "services" in Washburn Co.. He's in serious trouble, and rightfully should be. Thank God he got caught when he did, but it's a shame it wasn't sooner.
  • by James Location: Rice lake on Feb 14, 2012 at 05:09 AM
    This guy was also going around trying to convince people he had a home repair business. The only thing was he wanted money up front. I had him seal our driveway but it took 3 weeks for them to show up and then it was shoddy work. He also wanted to do in home repairs which we never let him do. He is right where he belongs.
  • by Anonymous Location: Rusk County on Feb 13, 2012 at 08:05 PM
    "Unfortunately, Windeshausen says because of Davis local businesses may be more reluctant to give in the future." Unfortunately Windeshausen is correct. Con artists like this guy make everyone skeptical. I have also heard too many cases of legit charitable organizations that suffer internal embezzlement. Reminds me of the 9-11 charity scams from years ago.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:43 AM in reply to
      Good job Brad. Thank you
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM in reply to
        We met this guy in Florida while on vacation and he is bad news. We were in Maderia Beach and come to find out he was wanted there as well. He has a rap sheet a mile long. He is a very good liar and he ruined our girls vacation!!!
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