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DISABLED CHARITY PYRAMID SCANDAL.

Byline: BOB HAYWOOD

A MIDLAND charity for the elderly and disabled is at the centre of a pyramidselling scandal.

Staff at the Black & Asian Disability Group in Walsall are said to have talked their vulnerable members into ploughing life savings into a get rich quick scheme.

But the 'investments' failed - leaving the victims penniless.

A confidential report revealed a catalogue of lies, bullying and breaches of trust. One elderly stroke victim claims her family received death threats after complaining about her losing pounds 4,500.

The goings-on at the Black & Asian Disability Group (BADG) are exposed in a BBC TV programme tomorrow night.

BADG was set up about 10 years ago to provide a day centre and outreach care for the disabled and elderly in the ethnic community.

The project, which now has a new management structure, is funded by the Government's single regeneration budget and administered by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.

TV programme Inside Out, which is produced at Birmingham's Pebble Mill studios, has obtained a copy of a confidential report into complaints against BADG staff.

It concluded that the very people the charity was set up to help had lost thousands of pounds after they were talked into putting money into the controversial Women Empowering Women scheme. A woman who attended the BADG drop-in centre revealed how she parted with pounds 4,500 to staff member Tasleem Rana, known as Taz.

'I was told the scheme couldn't fail and that I would get my money back eight times over,' she said.

But the woman never had any money back and claims that attempts by her family members to recoup the cash ended with them receiving death threats.

Ms Rana is confronted on the TV programme by Inside Out reporter Jane Dodge at the textile shop where she now works.

She denies having the woman's money and knowing anything about threats before stalking off and hiding in a stockroom.

A Walsall Council report into the centre could find no evidence of threats having been made - but Ms Rana wrote a letter to the woman apologising for any trouble she had been caused.

As part of the shake-up following the investigation, BADG chief officer Arvind Parmar has resigned.

Inside Out is screened on BBC1 tomorrow at 7.30pm.

CAPTION(S):

EXPOSED... a scene from the programme
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2002
Words:386
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