FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A former mayoral candidate in Fayetteville is at the center of a scandal. He's accused of defrauding people out of thousands of dollars and lying about his past. The investigation raises questions about how he qualified to run for office in the first place.
Fayetteville police say Franco Webb scammed people as far as Pennsylvania, Arizona and South Carolina for private investigative services dating back two years ago. He's facing three felony charges for obtaining property under false pretenses and three misdemeanors for offering investigative or security services without a license. Steve Antson from the Guardians of the Green Berets said that as many as 15 others have also accused Webb of stealing money.
"These people are not really sorry; they're sorry they got caught. He's been doing this for 30 years," Antson said.
Antson's organization also accused Webb of lying about his military service. The former Fayetteville mayoral candidate has a long rap sheet. Despite this, the Cumberland County Board of Elections said there weren't any issues with Webb's application when he ran for office. The case comes as New York Congressman George Santos faces a long list of allegations from lying about his educational background to cheating veterans out of their money.
Political Science Professor Dr. David McLennan at Meredith College acknowledged how cases like these challenge how political candidates are vetted.
"You know the question about putting more restrictions is often the question about: are you taking power out of the hands of voters?" he said.
McLennan said in a perfect world, political parties would do more to evaluate candidates representing their parties and news media would be able to do deep dives into all of the candidates, better informing voters.
"But we're seeing more and more that that's breaking down," McLennan said. "And so the question is, do we put more requirements in place because our democratic norms are deteriorating?"
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Webb is expected to turn himself in Wednesday at the Cumberland County Detention Center.