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Woman asks for refund from 361 Grants but left with more questions

Alleged victim speaks about 361 Grants
Posted at 9:03 PM, Oct 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 13:08:05-04

Update 12:04 p.m. Tuesday:

Maria Gonzalez has informed us that Daniel Saenz has given her a refund for her $150.

Original Story:

Our station received complaints regarding financial assistance that was supposed to come from 361 Grants. Following up on complaints, a reporter and photographer were threatened.

Now someone has applied with 361 Grants has detailed what she's gone through.

Maria Gonzalez said she applied for grants to help repair her home.

“They mentioned covid relief grants that were out there and being that I got laid off during covid, I thought maybe they could help me with that. They did mention there would be different avenues of grants given out. Government, private," said Maria Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said she began to question things.

“Well I first showed it to my boyfriend and he says this is a scam," said Gonzalez. "He goes, they got you for how much did you give them? I said 150.”

According to the agreement Gonzalez signed she could ask for a refund within 14 days. El Barrio Food Pantry is one of the places 361 Grants operates out of. When Gonzalez returned there Monday, she was told she couldn't have her refund then and would have to come back Oct, 13. Questioning things even more.

“I just feel bad for the people like myself and other victims that live paycheck to paycheck and are barely hanging in there," she said "And there always has to be a rotten apple, trying to get money from people and rob them.”

While outside El Barrio Food Pantry on Monday, a man approached me and identified himself as Daniel Saenz. He said he runs 361 Grants. Saenz said after our original story we reported on about his grant program, people have asked for refunds.

“Everybody that’s called texted or emailed the want a refund, we’ve responded to everyone.”

Saenz said 11 refunds are pending, but he was not aware of Gonzalez’s situation. Previously Saenz wasn't aware of how many grants have been awarded thus far. He said for their general purpose grant also known as their covid relief grant, there have been 123 applications and 54 people have been awarded money. Due to privacy concerns, Saenz could not release any info on the recipients.

Some people will tell us something and then they'll go say something else. So, we're going to fix the problem," he said.

Gonzalez said she plans to file a police report.

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