Dateline   |  July 19, 2013

'Wild Wild Web,' Part 4

Chris Hansen looks into a Vegas charity that says it helps the homeless. But does it?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> raising money night and day on the vegas strip say there is. they say they're collecting for the homeless. they were recruited from this online post. homeless and jobless, you must be both. includes room and board with cash paid weekly. your job, fund raising . the group is called the u.s. missionary corps . now when we donate, most of us would like believe the bulk of our money is going to the people who need it. is that what's really happening here? this woman's uniform along with her badge that says volunteer, makes her seem legitimate. she admits she isn't really a volunteer at all. this is her job.

>> it's hard work. $7 a day.

>> she's one of the homeless people who answered the craig's list post has been hired to collect cash. where do all those dollar bills go? there's somebody else involved, the woman who runs the u.s. missionary corps . we wanted to know more about this boss and if the money being collected on the strip is really going to the homeless. to find out our producer replied to the group's post and was told to show up on the strip to await further orders.

>> i would shake your hand, but my hands are filthy.

>> our producer was led to this rundown van. the van picked up other u.s. missionary corps fundraisers. we ended up at this house. that's where we saw the same workers who collected the cash out on the vegas strip counting it themselves. it looks like several hundred dollars. this is also where we found out something very interesting about the u.s. missionary corps . these workers get 20% of what they collect. some of them told us they make between 40 to $60 a day. they're given room and board. we're told up to 18 people stay in this four-bedroom home. what's the problem?

>> it's not doing what it says it's doing. it's deceiving the public.

>> would you call it a scam?

>> absolutely.

>> why?

>> who is it helping? how is it helping homeless people in any meaningful way?

>> the u.s. missionary corps actually exploits them.

>> these people are getting minuscule amounts of money and it is fair less than minimum wage.

>> i went out on the strip wearing a disguise. i asked this homeless person how much he ended up with.

>> they only give you 10%.

>> sounds like they're using you.

>> i think they might be.

>> where's the lion's share of the money going?

>> to the woman who runs the shelter.

>> that lady is this woman, the president of the u.s. missionary corps . this turns out this isn't the first homeless organization she's been involved with. years ago, she worked with an identical group with called the u.s. chaplains corps in texas. that group was closed down. why?

>> even though they looked and sounded legit, your money was going right back into their pockets.

>> i just want to know where the money goes. what about carol? how much money does she keep? we tried twice to meet with carol. she didn't talk to us either time. wouldn't even roll down her car windows .

>> i just want the talk to you for one minute. can't i just talk to you for one minute? just pull over for one second and talk to us.

>> why are you bothering me?

>> she insists the money that she collects does help the homeless. she told us in a letter that the money the u.s. missionary corps gives to its volunteers is a gift. u.s. missionary corps does have permits from the city of las vegas to make collections. shortly after our visit, the las vegas zoning board said carol was violating city laws by having too many people living in a residential house and her so-called shelter was shutdown. it is still recruiting and still collecting cash on the vegas strip .

>> what would you stay to anybody walking down the vegas strip who sees a u.s. missionary corps volunteer?

>> i would say don't give them a dime.

>> research it and make sure your money is going where it will really help.