New trouble for woman who ran Raleigh charity

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There’s new trouble for a woman who ran a controversial charity in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office is looking at Jennifer Pierce’s participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise that cost two companies nearly a million dollars.

CBS North Carolina has uncovered a number of court documents which indicate Pierce and an accomplice were using a nonexistent charity to get cellphones and tablets which were later sold for cash. It’s the second time Pierce has been involved with a charity that the Secretary of State’s office has investigated.

Pierce first came to public attention back in 2010 after a massive earthquake rocked Haiti. Her charity made a big splash collecting shoes for the earthquake victims. When floods struck Nashville, Tennessee, in May of 2010, Share Our Shoes charity was front and center again.

Bob Barker Industries donated thousands of new shoes to her charity for flood victims.

“Nashville is home. It’s right beside us and could happen here,” Pierce said at the time.

But what happened, the Secretary of State’s office said, was that thousands of those donated shoes were never sent – but were sold to third parties. The Secretary of State’s office also said the nonprofit had more than $65,000 in questionable expenses. At the time, Pierce denied any wrongdoing.

“I would never steal shoes or money-or anything for that matter,” Pierce said Nov. 5, 2011.

But after conducting an investigation, the Secretary of State’s office revoked the charity license for Share Our Shoes in March of 2012 and issued a cease and desist order prohibiting the charity from soliciting donations.

Now, Pierce is in trouble again with the Secretary of State’s office.

Search warrants obtained by CBS North Carolina allege Pierce illegally accessed the Secretary of State’s corporation’s database and made changes to reports of two corporations that she was not affiliated with.

Court documents from March 30, 2016, show Pierce and Brian Keonte Knight used false corporate documents and fake business names to illegally obtain high-value electronic devices such as cellphones and tablets from AT&T and Verizon, which were later resold for cash. The warrants say that cost the two companies upwards of million dollars.

The Secretary of State contends the pair used a fake charity to target AT&T and Verizon.

Knight is a former Halifax County Sheriff’s Deputy who resigned in February 2015. In August of 2015, he was accused in a hit-and-run run accident that left his girlfriend dead. A medical examiner later ruled her death was accidental – and involuntary manslaughter charges against him were dropped.

On April 22, Knight was arrested in Pitt County and charged with obtaining property under false pretenses.

Agents raided both Knight’s and Pierce’s homes back on April 23, 2015, and at the time— probable cause affidavits reveal — Pierce and Knight both confessed to changing the corporate records and admitted to defrauding AT&T.

CBS North Carolina went to the homes listed in the search warrants that were raided. We were told by occupants of both homes that neither Pierce nor Knight lived at those locations anymore – and hadn’t been there for months.

The search warrants also assert that Pierce and Knight admitted the illegally obtained phones and tablets that were turned over to a third person to be sold for profit, with that money to be divided among all the conspirators.

Both Pierce and Knight were indicted in January and the charges are still pending. CBS North Carolina reached out to the Secretary of State’s office but they tell us they won’t comment on camera at this point on an ongoing investigation.

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