Factfinder: Scammer who stole Christmas
He promised thousands of dollars in gift cards and prizes, all ahead of the Christmas season. All a person had to do to be entered to win was like a Facebook page. It seemed too good to be true, and it was.
The man's name is Shane LeBeau. He ran a Facebook page called "Today in Kansas Talk Show." That page has since been taken down. He said a friend, a wealthy man he'd known for at least two years, approached him to promote and run the contest on the "Today in Kansas Talk Show" page. LeBeau says he turned his friend down, but eventually agreed to do it.
Every night LeBeau would go live on Facebook and draw names of winners, often while supposedly talking on the phone to his friend who he referred to as "Secret Santa." Hundreds of names were drawn, but no prizes were ever mailed out.
Nicole Elam and her husband both had their names drawn.
"I won a $500 gift card and a $20 gift card. We were really excited for the $530 dollars. It's the holidays. Anybody could use that kind of money," she said.
Eyewitness News wanted to know what happened to the prizes and why they weren't mailed to winners. After several attempts to get an interview with LeBeau, he agreed but then backed out claiming he'd injured his hip. After several more attempts to interview him, LeBeau agreed to a phone interview only.
"I always agreed to an interview with you, I'm just not able to go in person because I can't walk very well," LeBeau told Factfinder investigator Alex Flippin.
By phone, LeBeau said it wasn't him who had defaulted on the prizes. It was his friend, the mysterious "Secret Santa."
"Communication completely stopped. I couldn't get a hold of him," LeBeau said. "Me, I'm limited to social media to try to find a person. I don't have all these extra places that I can go to look for somebody to try to contact them."
LeBeau then offered up the name of his friend, though he didn't know his phone number or where he lived. After running the name LeBeau provided through several public record databases, Eyewitness News was unable to find any person, living or dead, in the United States with that name.
A trip to LeBeau's home to get more answers proved unsuccessful. He'd canceled an in-person interview and said he could only interview by phone because of the injury to his hip, but on the day of the visit to his home, LeBeau's father said his son was at work.
It is worth noting Shane LeBeau did not steal money from anyone. He only promised money and prizes to people that were never delivered. Because of that, there is no crime for police to investigate. LeBeau claims he filed a report with authorities concerning the matter.