Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – A man is facing serious charges after taking money from people in temples and churches.
Alan Farha said he needed help to get to his parents’ funeral. The story was so sad that temple and church members opened their wallets. Police say the story was a lie.
The story seemed plausible to the rabbi at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue.
WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports
“He stands up and says can you please have my mother and father of blessed memory in mind,” says Rabbi Levi Krinsky. “They just died tragically going up a hill in Jerusalem.”
And so when Farha rose from the seats of the 15 person congregation and said he needed money to fly to Israel to bury his parents, Rabbi Krinsky and others pitched in.
Krinsy says, “The people started ponying up money and they asked me and I said if you can do something we have to help him.”
Farha left with 400 dollars. It was a story he’d repeat time and again. At St. Peter and Paul, he made off with 400 dollars. He also targeted St. Catherine and St. Joseph’s Catholic churches.
Finally, Farha walked into Temple Adath Yeshurun. After telling his sob story and bilking people for 500 dollars, one member got suspicious and called police.
Manchester Police Lt. Maureen Tessier says, “The officer was able to do some research on the individual and found he’d been involved in similar activity in other states around the country.”
Rabbi Krinsky can’t help but second guess whether he should have been more skeptical. But he says when a person is in need, people of faith help. And it made them easy prey for a con man.
“We chose to let him in and then we had to pay the price literally,” says Rabbi Krinsky.