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Some Soliciting Donations Outside Markets Aren't What They Seem, CBS2 Investigation Finds

LOS ANGELES ( — A foundation with a message to feed the hungry and efforts that seem to get an outpouring of support from Southland shoppers is not what it seems, a CBS2 investigation by David Goldstein has uncovered.

The group has been spotted outside some supermarkets, including one in Northridge and another in Reseda.

"We're from the What Can We Do Foundation. We help children. The hungry," said an unidentified man outside a market.

The foundation is run by Weilyn Wingfield, whose rap sheet includes possession of drugs and a firearm over the past 15 years.

The foundation has a Facebook page with no information about what they do, and no website.

CBS2 did find an invitation to a Mother's Day event it sponsored last month, and a 2013 Antelope Valley Times article that said it was a charity that provided food for the homeless.

But according to the California Franchise Tax Board, the foundation's charitable status was suspended in 2012. A spokesperson said it was for not filing a tax return.

Goldstein found it collecting money and also suggesting an association with other charities. On their sign was a logo of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Undercover Producer: "And how long have you been with St. Vincent?"

"Oh, we've been with St. Vincent just about since we started," said a woman outside a store.

Goldstein asked David Fields, the executive director of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, whether the international charity that serves 200,000 needy worldwide was associated with the What Can We Do Foundation.

"No, we have no association with them in terms of raising money for us," Fields said.

Goldstein: "At one point, we saw one of the kids pick up the canister and shake it. Seemed like it had a bunch of money in it. To your knowledge, are you getting any of that money?"

"As far as I know, we are not getting any of that money," Fields said.

Wingfield's Facebook page also has him going by the name Ansar El Muhammad. There are pictures of him serving food wearing a St. Vincent De Paul apron.

"They helped us serve at Our Lady of Charity, which is one of our organizations in Lancaster, and it appears, OK, that they may have walked away with our aprons," Fields said.

Up until about a month ago, the organization used to be outside a Ralphs in Granada Hills, but attorneys for the supermarket filed a restraining order kicking them off the property.

The court papers contain a declaration from John Green with No Kid Hungry and Share our Strength, a nationwide charity endorsed by celebrities to eliminate childhood hunger.

The solicitor's sign also suggests they work with those organizations.

Undercover Producer: "And you work with Share Our Strength too? I've heard about that."

"Foundations. All the foundations are working together for one purpose," said a man outside a store.

But Green said in his declaration: "What Can We Do has been illegally passing itself off as affiliated with Share Our Strength and deceiving the public into making donations."

Shoppers who gave money were surprised.

"I feel suckered. I feel like really foolish of giving my money," one person said.

When Goldstein caught up with Wingfield, he admitted he had no connections with the other charities.

Goldstein: "Are you associated with St. Vincent De Paul?"

Wingfield: "No, I'm not."

Goldstein: "You're not? But the logo is there. Are you associated with No Kid Hungry?"

Wingfield: "No, I'm not."

Goldstein: "How come you're using that logo?"

Wingfield: "Well, actually, I don't use the logo for that."

Goldstein: "The logo is on there, though, sir."

Wingfield: "Actually, my logo is on there myself."

Goldstein: "The logo is on there. Aren't you deceiving people?"

Wingfield: "No, I'm not."

Goldstein: "Where's the money going?"

Wingfield: "It goes to the homeless."

Goldstein: "How do we know it goes to the homeless? You're not a registered charity. You're not even a charity, and you're collecting money."

With that, he left, not saying where the donations are going. State officials say the group is not allowed to do business in California because its charitable status is suspended.

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