VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Three young men say they bought one-way tickets to Virginia Beach after they were promised their dream of playing college football would be fulfilled, according to an exclusive report from TEGNA partner WVEC in Virginia.
Those dreams were shattered when they came to Virginia Beach and realized that there was no football team, and the college they were promised didn’t exist at all.
“So we came out here and this is what it was, we came to his house,” said Bernard Walker.
Walker, along with his friends Keishay Harvey and Robert Brown said they first heard from Willie Williamson when he contacted them about playing football at a college in Virginia Beach.
“He was running Redemption Christian College, we were under the impression that it was this big thing. He made it seem like, you know, the college is really known in the area, we get a lot of people there, a lot of support from churches, and everything like that,” explained Walker.
But the college, as it turns out, is not at all what Walker and his friends expected.
Walker says they had to sleep on the man’s floor after they arrived to Virginia Beach. That is when they said they began raising red flags.
“I asked them, I said where is the school at, the school is wherever you are at, it’s an online school, we are like online, we were under the impression that we are going to be in a classroom, dorm rooms,” said Walker.
Virginia Beach police officers came to investigate the situation, but say they found no criminal activity.
13News Now reached out to Mr. Williamson for comment. He defended his organization over the phone.
“What we did, there’s Century International College, we have a program, and we partnered with them and they are our sister school, we have an articulation agreement, so everybody who wants to come down, I just brought other kids down here, I’m still bringing kids here, so you publicize it,” he said.
Mr. Williamson said he paid for travel fare home for the three young men.
Police said the case was handed over to The Economic Crime Unit. This unit handles cases of identity theft,embezzlement, larceny related to check & credit card fraud, computer crime & fraud, obtaining by false pretense, bad checks, forgery, construction fraud, bigamy, perjury, fail to return rental property, and counterfeit US currency and checks.