Former Presidential Candidate Wanted in AR Tied to Memphis Scam

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WHBQ) — A former presidential candidate who kicked off his campaign in Bentonville is back in the headlines.

Joshua Gaters, who has a warrant out of Bentonville, allegedly tried to scam tickets from an annual historically black college football game. He was using the name Jason Smith. 

Fred Jones is the founder of the Southern Heritage Classic.

In the 28 years he’s sold tickets for the football game, he’s dealt with some scammers, but on August 28th he came across the biggest one yet. 

“He said he was a coach over at Sherwood Middle School which we found out later wasn’t the case,” said Jones. 

That man was Jason Smith. The convicted felon has been arrested in at least four states for fraud and theft.

Jones said Smith wrote a $2,300 check to purchase 100 tickets to pass out to students and people in the community, but Jones’s staff started to become suspicious.

“When he got the tickets, we tried to verify the check. We couldn’t get a straight answer. We called the bank which supposedly was a bank, and they wouldn’t get on the phone,” said Jones. 

On Friday, WHBQ reported that Smith created a fake Sherwood Middle School website, and listed himself as an administrator and program leader. Employees told WHBQ that Smith was planning to use the fake program and position to take in fraudulent donations. 

Read the full story on WHBQ’s website here

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