Natoya Turnbull thought she was getting a good deal from a camp director advertising on the popular website, “Living Social”.
The cost was $500 for nine weeks, and Turnbull thought the program would be great for her eight year old daughter.
But Turnbull said when she talked to the leader of Camp Vision, Dejean Gathers, he “upped” the asking price to $900. “He had a whole list of trips they were going to take: Great Adventure, Sesame Place,” Turnbull recalled of their July conversation. So, $500 turned into $900 that Gathers withdrew directly from Turnbull’s bank account.
When Turnbull turned up with her daughter at one of the camp’s “designated” locations, St. Anthony’s Baptist Church in Crown Heights, “They never heard of him, and they said at this site, there’s no camp.” Turnbull called Gathers, and she said he told her, “They pick up street side. I said, ‘My daughter’s not getting picked up street side.’”
Turnbull told PIX 11 she’s one of about forty parents who have been scammed by Gathers, who has a record of conning people here in New York—and down South.
He claimed to have seven camp locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey, and the website for his “Camp Vision” brags that he “partners with First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the ‘Let’s Move Now’ campaign.” But it looks like the only thing Gathers was moving was other people’s money.
On his Facebook page, he’s called a “bishop” with the Prophetic Promise Cathedral Church in Atlanta. But a mug shot from Fulton County, Georgia in 2011 indicates he pleaded guilty to larceny charges last year.
The year before, he pleaded guilty to scamming three women in the Bronx. The women said back in 2007, Gathers was posing as a real estate agent, advertising on Craig’s List and showing them an apartment on Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx. Each of the women paid a down payment on the rental, ranging from $1800 to more than $2800. Gathers even gave them keys. But when each woman showed up at the “new apartment”, she learned it was already occupied. Their down payment money was long gone.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office told PIX 11 Monday there’s a continuing investigation on this latest case. It’s not clear where Dejean Gathers is living now. PIX 11 sent him a message on his Facebook page, but we didn’t hear back.