CBS 19 Investigates: Self-proclaimed preacher accused of more scams

CBS 19 Investigates: Self-proclaimed preacher accused of more scams

He promotes gospel concerts and claims he's a preacher.  Now new victims are coming forward claiming Marcus Geter is still scamming people.

Starting in February of 2013, we were watching Geter.

"You don't do people like that," Christine Pinkerton of Smith County told us of a run-in she had with Geter while car shopping. "You don't."

Pinkerton said he had sold her a car to which he never had the title. When we finally found the title to the car in question, we found an angry family who said they'd also been scammed when they tried to sell Geter the car.

We tracked down a widow who re-possessed her own late husband's limousine in the middle of the night because she said Geter had stopped making the payments he promised. And there was a stack of lawsuits--all judgments against Geter--who rarely bothers to show up to court.

Geter disappeared after that. He came to the CBS 19 studios hours before the original story aired, believing he had an answer for everything and claiming he would be back to explain himself.

He never made good on that offer, but people tell us he set up shop somewhere else with a brand new scam. Nearly a year later we got an email from Gigi Alexander of Noonday.

"The man is ruthless," she said. "Be careful out there."

Alexander's daughter has been battling breast cancer and trying to run a resale shop in a bad location. A couple of months ago a well-meaning customer mentioned having spotted a potential new location nearby.

"She says 'you know, I have somebody that has a place over on highway 31," Alexander said.

The former barber shop is highly visible, easily accessible and it sounded good.

"They said 'oh, we found the perfect place and he's going to make us the perfect deal,'" Alexander said of her daughter's initial meeting with Geter.

As it turns out the property also contains a donut shop, a storage unit and a very nice home. For a couple of months Geter owned all of it.

Like many of the people we met the first time we investigated Geter, he told Alexander he was a pastor as he showed off the space. But already she and her daughter were suspicious.

"After we left, Kat says 'mom this guy hasn't changed his clothes. He's wearing the same clothes he wore last night,'" Alexander said. "And I said 'well when you look at the house he showed us, it doesn't even look like it's lived in.'"

To be honest we're not sure where he lives. On the one hand he's apparently an upstanding board member at Longview's Habitat for Humanity.

"Mr. Geter lives in Longview," Executive Director LaJuan Hollis said over the phone. "He is a local pastor."

Perhaps. But Geter's drivers license goes to a different home in Tyler and we've never found a church that would claim him.

"He has not attended a board meeting or been active at all on our board since 2012," Hollis said. "At this point, well, I'm not going to say he wouldn't be welcome in our organization, but at this point he has left our board. He is not part of our governing system."

With that in mind, remember Alexander and her daughter had a deal to consider.

"It sounded good but then it opened up a can of worms," Alexander said.

They were confused as to why the building Geter was showing was still filled with equipment for a hair salon and had a cosmetologist's license on the wall. The demand for six months rent up front raised an additional red flag.

"My wheels were going round and round," Alexander said. "I said 'something is just not right.'"

Then she found our original story online and pulled the plug.

We started digging and found a fresh lawsuit filed against Geter on that Highway 31 property. It alleges breach of contract at the donut store next to the old barber shop.

"She signed a lease with him," a friend of the woman named Nhi Le said. "She put down $5,000."

Le was speaking on his friend's behalf because she speaks very little english. He said Geter had offered the donut shop as a location for the woman's lifelong dream of opening a restaurant, again demanding a large amount of rent up front. Geter said she could come in each day after the donut shop closed in the mornings.

"So the day that she's supposed to be opening, she comes over and she sees nothing," Le said.

Le said Geter promised renovations and a new stove, taking a total of $8,500 dollars from the woman without ever letting her move in.

"I told her that this guy, he has no feelings," Le said. "He could try to steal your money. So why don't you go get the money back? And he wouldn't give the money back to her. I told her the only thing you can do is go to small claims court and sue him."

That case is still pending.

Two weeks ago we went to the home of the family that sold Geter the land with the home and donut shop in early 2014.

"We didn't know him prior to [selling him the land], no," the woman answering the door said.

They also had no way of knowing he would default so quickly. Foreclosure paperwork obtained by CBS 19 describes how the family wrestled the property away from Geter just three months after the original sale.

"This could have cost me my savings that I'm putting aside for my daughter," Alexander said, adding that she never wanted to see Geter again. "It's horrible. A man like that needs to be put away. Somehow, somehow."

Geter did not return calls made to each of the three phone numbers he's been known to use.

As for prosecution, local authorities have made it pretty clear that he knows exactly what he's doing. All of these issues where money changes hands but there's a disagreement about what you're getting in return make it tough to pursue criminal charges under existing laws.


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