ATLANTA, GA–Clark Howard, budget-savvy financial guru and Atlanta native, found himself the target of a months-long sting that came to a close yesterday following a tumultuous chase through the streets of Atlanta. A warrant was issued late last night.
The Consumer Champion led local law enforcement on a car chase that reached speeds of 23 miles per hour. The pursuit ended when Mr. Howard’s all-electric Nissan Leaf ran out of juice. Howard ditched the ride and checked into a nearby hotel; police apprehended him only after cross-examining lobby records for customers that had paid both in cash and also below the advertised price.
Police say eyebrows were raised when a local bank reported that a customer was making suspicious deposits of up to 350,000 pennies per visit. Bank teller Demetria Sellers said she thought the method of deposit bizarre, but refrained from alerting authorities until she noticed some of the pennies included not a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, but of Little Orphan Annie partriarch Daddy Warbucks. Once the coins were confirmed as counterfeit, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation brought in a special task force. The task force has encountered challenges in past endeavors, so agents were eager to reap the “super savings” Howard would bring in for the state agency.
The series of state and federal charges outlines a gruesome case against the Household Hero, one of deceit and overly zealous spending habits. Prosecutors allege Howard attempted to mask the origin of nearly $320 in pocket change by funneling thousands of coins through sofa cushions and various pillows of unsuspecting friends and colleagues. A police raid of the Clark residence netted nearly $4,000 in counterfeit “Buy One, Get One Free” coupons and two Kroger Plus cards, allegedly used to pilfer 5% off grocery bills through Kroger’s Senior Citizen discount program every Wednesday for the last two years.
Mr. Howard faces 20 years to life if convicted, though prosecutors begrudgingly admit he could probably barter down his sentence using polite persistence.
“I’ve been helping people save money for over thirty years,” Howard said. “If I were guilty of these crimes, I would have increased the amount of savings at least tenfold through a traditional Roth-IRA.”
Bail has been set at $9.27.