LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – A youth wrestling team trying to raise money lost it instead when a fundraising program turned out to be a fraud.

The children sold candles to supporters, but the company never delivered the goods.

Josh Rodriquez is the coach of the Loveland Strykers, a co-ed wrestling team for children.

“Just try to give the kids the opportunity to wrestle that don’t have the funds or the means to do it,” Rodriquez said.

Running that type of operation means money is tight. So when Rodriquez received an email from a company called CW Fundraising that sells candles for fundraising purposes, he thought it was just the thing they could use.

“It looked like such a good deal for the kids and for the program that we couldn’t pass it up,” Rodriquez said.

The 20 children on the league sold close to 200 candles, raking in $2,300 from neighbors and friends. Following the directions, they sent in to the company the 40 percent they were asking for.

“We sent out $972 for candles to be shipped to us,” Rodriquez said.

Their check was cashed, but the candles never came. Phone lines to the company have been disconnected and the website has been taken down.

“It hurts a program, but it’s the kids’ program and it hurts them and they’re the ones who suffer in the long run, and that bothers me,” Rodriquez said.

On the Better Business Bureau’s website CW Fundraising comes up with a different business name called Candlewishes Inc., also located in Arlington, Texas. The BBB has given the company an “F” rating with people reporting the same type of problems that they never delivered on their promises.

Rodriquez says it’s a tough lesson he now has to teach his team.

“I don’t want them not to trust people and not feel like they’ve been let down, so that’s something that I have to talk to them about,” he said. “We do have to move on and continue pushing the program forward and keep going even though there are people out there like this.”

Rodriquez has turned over all the information to the Loveland police for investigation. The hope is they can recover some of the money and return it to the people who bought the candles to help the team.


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