Gregory McClees allegedly deceives Keith Blocker, aspiring college student
For 13 years, Keith Blocker didn't miss a single day of school. Ever. This past May, he graduated fifth in his class from Suitland High School.
He has dreams of continuing his education at the University of Maryland in College Park, but the financial burden on his family was proving to be an impediment.
A phone call this past May seemed like the kind of miracle Keith and his family needed - a man named Gregory McClees who said he was going to pay for all four years of his education.
That call, though, has turned into a nightmare.
"He let us know he wanted to offer my son a full, four-year scholarship to the school of his choice," Keith's mother, Dina Johnson-Blocker, said. "We really thought this was the miracle we'd been praying for."
The seemingly generous offer from McClees couldn't have come at a better time for Keith and his family; at the time, they had no idea how they were going to pay for the tuition. In emails to his family, McClees even promised an additional $1,000-per-month stipend.
"I just pretty much decided I would go to school no matter what circumstances came up," Keith said.
Last month, he gave the family their first installment of the stipend. However, payment on the check was quickly stopped. In later emails, McClees promised them $10,000.
"He told me to get Keith everything he needs for school and any money left from the check he wanted to go to Keith," Dina said.
He never came through. McClees blames a bank error on the stop payment and said that his attorney would clear everything up. He even promised to bring a $1,000 check to the ABC7 newsroom by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
McClees never showed up. He was later found outside his Capitol Hill apartment, where he defiantly said that all the scholarship money had been sent. He also said that his attorney was taking care of his matters while he was sick and away from the area.
That attorney had no comment on the matter and would not even confirm if he represented McClees.
Meanwhile, when payment was stopped on the first check, the Blockers say hundreds of dollars in bank fees that they can't afford were levied on their accounts. They now wonder and wait to see if Keith's college dreams are evaporating.
"He made a lot of promises, but he didn't come through with anything," he said.
Classes at the University of Maryland begin in about three weeks, and a copy of Keith's campus account show that no payments have been made on his tuition. The university says that it's still processing incoming payments.
The family have also launched an online effort in an attempt to raise money for Keith's education. You can find it here.