An Atlanta man is in the Barrow County Detention Center charged in a prayer scam in which a Winder man lost $15,000 to three men who were blessing the money with prayers when it disappeared.
Winder police announced Thursday that Bernard Candies, 61, is in jail charged with felony fraud, exploitation of the elderly and a probation violation charge. Candies was booked into the jail on Sept. 13, according to jail records.
He remains in custody without bond, while police search for two other suspects identified as Sylvester Jackson and Marvin Scott, both 63. Police said they believe that both suspects know they are being sought on the same charges that face Candies.
The victim, Walter Hosch, was scammed out of the money in early September, when he told police that two men followed him into the Walmart in Winder. They approached him, explaining they raise money to help needy children.
Police said the suspects convinced Hosch to make a monetary donation and they would pray over the money, which would make it increase in amount.
The victim went with the suspects to a bank, where he withdrew the money and placed it inside an envelope, which one of the suspects wrapped in a “prayer cloth.”
“All of the men prayed over the money together asking for the money to be multiplied. The men convinced the victim to not open the cloth or the envelope until he got home or the prayer would not work,” according to the police report.
When Hosch arrived home, he found an envelope with only newspapers and cards inside and he realized that while his eyes were closed in prayer, the men swapped the envelopes, according to reports.
Reports failed to offer any details as to if Hosch voluntary gave the men some money with an expectation his remaining funds would would multiply and authorities could not immediately be reached on Thursday to further explain the nature of the scam.
Following the crime, Hosch offered a $1,000 reward for each suspect that was identified and arrested.