• Convicted felon accused of scamming Southern Heritage Classic

    By: Lauren Coleman


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - 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. 


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    "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, FOX13 reported that Smith created a fake Sherwood Middle School website, and listed himself as an administrator and program leader. Employees told FOX13 that Smith was planning to use the fake program and position to take in fraudulent donations. 

    When Jones saw our story he quickly contacted the school and spoke with the principal.  

    "He was taken back by it all, and he wanted to reassure us that he was not a coach there. It was not something he want to reflect on his school. He was very forthcoming," said Jones.

    On Tuesday, the check bounced and as a result the tickets were canceled. 

    Jones said he hopes others can learn from his story. 

    "Just to be careful who you're associated with, knowing who you are associated with," said Jones.

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