Crime

Family Help Center can't help these two charity fraudsters

Say somebody calls you up and asks if you'd like to donate to the Family Help Center. Sounds like a good idea, right? Because you like families, and you'd like to help. But if you opened up your heart, and your wallet, to such an offer between 2005 and 2007, the only people you helped were Danny Kleiman and David Werkmeister. They were accused of cooking up more than 180 unregistered charities, and then using the $95,000 they collected for "drugs, alcohol and gambling," according to the grand jury indictment accessible here. But the fun's over: Kleiman and Werkmeister have just been handed sixteen-year sentences and ordered to pay back all the money in restitution. That'll make drugs, alcohol and gambling harder to come by -- but no need to give generously.

Check below for a look at Werkmeister and more details about the case from the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General announces 16-year sentences for two men at the center of charitable fraud operation

DENVER -- Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that a Broomfield County District Court judge has sentenced Danny Troy Kleiman (DOB: 2/17/1964) and David Dale Werkmeister (DOB: 9/14/1964) each to 16 years in prison in connection with a scheme to solicit thousands of dollars in charitable donations for nonexistent charities. Both men also were ordered to pay $95,680.03 in restitution to their victims.

According to the duo's indictment, between November 2005 and April 2007, Kleiman and Werkmeister fraudulently registered charity trade names and then systematically began to solicit donations. During their donation-campaign, roughly 6,500 Coloradans from six metro-area counties were contacted by phone and asked to donate money.

The pair obtained more than 1,600 contributions totaling more than $95,000 from 626 victims, according to the indictment. More than three quarters of the money allegedly came from elderly Coloradans. The indictment also states that Kleiman and Werkmeister used the names of more than 180 fake charities when they solicited money. Little or no money the pair raised was ever used for charitable purposes.

Kleinman and Werkmeister pleaded guilty in June to violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and to committing charitable fraud, both felonies. Their 16-year sentences were the maximum allowable under their plea agreements.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts