SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned a local “activist” has once again used his position to solicit sex from a single mother who was seeking help from his non-profit organization. After she refused his proposition, she received no help and instead had her social security number and other personal information stolen by the man.
“He said he wanted to touch on me, lick on me and asked if my vagina was shaved.” The victim tells RNM. “He asked to see ‘HIS p***y.'”
The victim in this case, a single mother of 7 children, will not be named as part of RNM policy. However, RNM has verified several messages that were sent from the activist, Vernado Malone, to the victim. Malone is a career con-man who has gone to prison multiple times for fraud convictions, including stealing approximately $100,000 from the American Red Cross. He founded the non-profit called Justice for Michiana in 2019, a year after he was released from his last prison stint.
According to the victim, Malone first reached out to her on October 16th, 2022, after she made a post on Facebook asking friends and family for suggestions for help about paying her electric bill. Somehow, Malone discovered the post that same day and sent the victim a private message saying he could help with his non-profit organization.
“I been trying to get help out here for things since I moved it’s like no one wants to give me the resources.” The victim wrote to Malone after he introduced himself.
“U have not got with me.” Malone responded. Malone then sent the victim several pictures of his business card along with literature about his organization.
Eventually, Malone got the victim on the phone and scheduled a time to go to her home to gather information. During that time, Malone took the victim’s Social Security Number, ID and electric bill and put all of the information into a laptop computer. At this point, the victim’s electricity had already been turned off. Shortly after, her electricity was turned back on because of “pledges” made to her account by Malone. However, the money was never paid and the power company notified her that the electricity was going to be turned off again several weeks later.
During the time that the electricity had turned back on, but the “pledges” by Malone had not been paid, Malone began sending the victim messages showing he had other intents. First he sent her a picture of an engagement ring, claiming it was for her.
“I wanna see u.” Malone said on October 23rd. “I just want to be there sometimes with you.”
Two days later he sends her another message.
“Miss u.” He wrote. “Wyd (what you doing?)”
After the victim tells Malone that she has been sleeping because she works a lot he responds.
“Invite me over to hold u.” He wrote.
The victim tells Malone that his wife wouldn’t appreciate the comments and continues to turn down his advances. Malone even requests pictures from the woman who is obviously not interested.
On November 16th, the woman’s power was finally shut off due to the “pledges” by Malone not being paid. The woman sends Malone a message asking about the situation. Malone essentially blames her for the lights being turned off because she did not have sex with him.
“I had to f*ck with some one (sic) I didn’t even want to and didn’t get to mess with u.” Malone says, appearing to refer to some sort of resource of his.
That day, Malone went over to the woman’s house to discuss how he can assist. The victim says she didn’t want him in her home with her kids, so she got into his car with him outside.
“He said I needed to give him $150 for the ‘person’ who would turn the lights on. But he wanted other stuff for it to get done.” She explained. “He said he wanted to touch on me, lick on me and asked if my vagina was shaved. He asked to see ‘HIS p***y.'”
The victim claims at that point, she quickly got out of the car and went into her home.
Malone and Justice for Michiana never provided the promised assistance.
Subscribers can see screenshots of all of the conversations below.
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In September of 2019, RNM published a story in which Malone ran the same scam against another single mother. When she refused, he denied the promised assistance. He also convinced that woman to hand over the social security number, name and date of birth of her child with Autism.
“He was saying, like, how he’d like to suck my toes and other private things.” The Woman, who RNM will not name due to being the victim of a sexual incident, said at the time.
The victim in this incident says she was contacted by Vernado Malone with Justice for Michiana after she also made a Facebook post regarding transportation for her son with disabilities. Shortly after, having financial problems, Malone said he could help the single mother pay her electric bill — however, she says, he insinuated the help came with sexual favors.
“That’s how I’m feeling that it was. Because once I didn’t do anything and once, you know, I got it in text form and said ‘Hey, I didn’t appreciate what you did in the office and now my bill still isn’t paid,’ he said basically, in text, either I want his help or not.” The victim told RNM.
The victim also provided RNM with copies of the text conversations with Malone to back up her claims. All of those can be read here.
NUDE PICTURE SCHEME
Malone is the owner/founder of a non-profit called Justice for Michiana. The organization was created to help the families of homicide victims with funeral arrangements. Malone had a partnership with Alford’s Mortuary and was given access to take hundreds of nude pictures of dead bodies at the facility. Malone would then share those photos with strangers, friends and family members. Two families of the deceased, who had nude pictures taken, are currently suing Malone. Alford’s Mortuary has since settled the case. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has also opened up an investigation.
CITY FUNDS CONVICTED FELON
Malone is a multiple convicted federal felon. Despite his record, the City of South Bend helped to fund his non-profit through a city grant to help stop violent crime. Federal court records show a Vernado Malone in the Northern Indiana District, with a criminal record spanning more than a decade.
In 1999, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for credit card fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.
In 2005, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aiding and Abetting Forfeiture Allegation. He was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
In 2015, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. He was ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.
There are also several state level charges and convictions, however, Malone petitioned the court to expunge those records. One arrest he is seeking to get expunged involves child molestation.
Despite all of that, the City of South Bend awarded Malone with $7,000 in taxpayer money as part of the “Alive grant.”
According to the city’s website, the “Alive grant program is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to reduce incidents of gun violence in the community and provide constructive initiatives for South Bend’s young people.”
RNM reached out to Mayor James Mueller himself, who had the city’s director of communications, Caleb Bauer, respond. The city had 3 days to come up with the following statement.
“The South Bend Alive Grant Program was developed to support community-based initiatives that work to reduce incidents of gun violence in South Bend. Applicants were required to complete a narrative grant application describing their plans for prospective programming and submit a budget form detailing how grant funds would be utilized.
Recipients are required to provide quarterly updates on their programs and measurable data to the Office of Community Initiatives for review.
Grant recipients have agreed to comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations and ordinances. A grantee who violated any laws would also be in violation of the program agreement and could be subject to litigation.”
RNM asked Bauer if the city knew about Vernado Malone’s criminal record and if the city did background checks on the applicants. Bauer did not respond.
Malone was also recently arrested for violating a protective order held by a woman against him. You read more about that incident and watch video of the arrest here.
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