Church says it was targeted by scammer who failed to deliver furniture

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It started as a friendship. Now Barbara Smith thinks Betty Hobson had an ulterior motive.

"When I told her we were going to order pulpit furnishings she said, 'Well, I can do that for you," Smith said.

Smith talked Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church into buying new additions for the church through BSH Enterprises.

"She measured it, wrote me a handwritten receipt and I gave her a check," Smith said.

The plan was to replace the speaker's podium and the communion table and upgrade it to something a bit more modern. But as of now, all of that is on hold.

"She didn't even order it," Smith said of Hobson.

That was in December.

The check was cashed right away. But nearly a year later, there's still no furniture.

"It's stealing, and it is lying."

Church staff did their own digging and found out Hobson was accused of doing something similar before.

"Another church had been scammed by her. They ordered furniture from her. They didn't get it all, and what they got was used," Smith said.

Back then Hobson was calling her company Church Services.

"My warning is, don't do business with her," Smith said.

The church says Hobson begged for mercy. And they gave her the chance to fix things.

"I guess she realized she'd been busted, because she offered to refund our money."

So far, she's paid $2,400 of the nearly $6,000 handed over to her for the job.

Hobson told us she hopes to have the full refund made by November 15.