Jim Benvie, last seen posting a video of his armed vigilante group rounding up a huge crowd of asylum seekers at gunpoint, has allegedly been running a scam soliciting money to pay for “treatment” for a child cancer survivor he has no relation to whatsoever. Benvie was formally charged with fraud on Friday.
Per a new report by the Daily Beast, Benvie has spent years exploiting the case of Ryan Cremeens, an 11-year-old cancer survivor who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma when he was 8. Ryan’s father, Eric Cremeens, pushed for the fraud charges after Benvie’s alleged scam was first reported by the Beast last month, following his arrest for a different crime. Per the Beast’s story today:
Although Benvie never met Ryan, he set up a GoFundMe page using Ryan’s name and claimed at times to have set up a “trust” for the child through BB&T Bank. Screenshots reviewed by The Daily Beast show Benvie at one point was asking for $50,000 through GoFundMe.
Cremeens said he tried to get the GoFundMe page shut down, to no avail. He also reported Benvie to police in Polk County, Georgia after the family got word that Benvie was raising money in Ryan’s name at a gas station there. Police records show an officer took a report but made no contact with Benvie.
“When I saw your article, it kind of reinvigorated me again to send email to the chief of police, who forwarded it to their district attorney’s office,” [Cremeens] told The Daily Beast. A prosecutor in the Logan County, Oklahoma district attorney’s office then called him and said the office would file a fraud charge against Benvie, Cremeens said.
The group Benvie belongs to, United Constitutional Patriots, is no stranger to crime: its leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins is a convicted felon who was arrested again in April on firearms charges. The FBI at one point was also investigating Hopkins and the group for planning to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. A great group of guys, clearly.
I have reached out to Benvie for comment and will update if I hear back. Read the full story at the Daily Beast.