About Karen Smith

If you have truth to share about Stan Cottrell, contact me at SeeStanRun@att.net

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The Emperor's New Clothes

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a work of fiction published in 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen. It is the story of a vain emperor who spends all his time fussing about his appearance, and no time at all on the duties of his office.

The emperor learns of a new fabric that is said to be invisible to anyone who is ignorant and incompetent. He arranges for a new suit of clothes to be made from this extraordinary fabric.

The emperor’s advisers cannot see the new clothes. They do not want to be perceived as ignorant or incompetent, so when they are called into his presence they pretend to see the new garments. They shower him with compliments on his eye for quality.

News of the amazing properties of the emperor’s new clothes spreads throughout the kingdom. A ceremonial parade is arranged so they may be displayed for all to see. As the emperor passes along the parade route,  each person conceals his or her disappointment at not being able to see the clothes so as to not reveal his or her own incompetence. Onlookers comment to each other on the richness of the fabric and the workmanship of the tailoring.

A young boy sees things as they really are and announces loudly, “The Emperor is naked!”

The boy’s father encourages those around him to listen to the voice of innocence. The bystanders repeat the boy’s words over and over, until a chant rises up from the crowd, “The emperor is naked!”

The emperor knows the people are no longer fooled, but he refuses to acknowledge the truth. He stands stiffly under the parade canopy as the procession moves on, ignoring the cries of the people. He continues to pretend he is wearing a fine new suit of clothes.

The story concludes with a description of a nobleman standing behind the emperor, who raises his arms to hold his imaginary mantle even higher.

"His Story Was Bullsh*t"

The comments below are from Col. Joseph Schlatter.

Col. Schlatter is retired from the United States Army. He is a Vietnam veteran who served as  Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Special Office for POW-MIA Affairs.

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My, my.

I am a retired Army officer — you can find me at http://www.miafacts.org.

I served as Chief of Analysis, Director, and Deputy Director of various Pentagon offices dealing with the issue of American servicemen who remain missing in action in Southeast Asia as a result of the Vietnam War.

I don’t recall the details, but, at some point in the early 1990’s, Cottrell popped up claiming to have information about Americans who were being held prisoner in Vietnam — 25 years after the war ended.

As I recall, Cottrell claimed he was on a long-distance “run for peace” in Vietnam when Vietnamese military personnel stopped him from going past a certain area.  He also claimed to have seen people under guard who were rushed away when he noticed them.

We interviewed Cottrell and it was clear his story was bullsh*t.

Thanks to whoever posted this blog for finally exposing this liar for what he is.

The Tomorrow Run

When I met Stan Cottrell in 2009 he was promoting his Global Friendship Run, scheduled to begin in November of that year.

As November approached, Mr. Cottrell reported the run would be delayed. November came and went. Then there was news of even more delays. One of Mr. Cottrell’s numerous websites reflected a start date of spring 2010, and another site said June 2010.

Now a website promoting the run says it will begin in early 2011.

Another site says it will begin in June 2011.

Hmmm…

November 2009.

Spring 2010.

June 2010.

Early 2011.

June 2011.

Perhaps Mr. Cottrell should call his run “The Tomorrow Run” because tomorrow never comes.

"A Smokescreen To Get Money"

As told to me by Marian Crocker, former Project Coordinator for                                               Stan Cottrell’s Great Global Friendship Run.

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Moscow to Berlin

My husband and I met Stan Cottrell in 1990 when we had a travel agency in Atlanta.

He was doing a run from Moscow to Berlin. He brought with him some very impressive people to meet, locals with big businesses in the Atlanta area. According to Stan this was going to be big, and a movie was going to be made. It was all being done in the name of friendship. Stan told us he had very good connections with lots of people in many countries and could open doors to all kinds of possibilities.

We helped plan the run. We arranged for fireworks, to have bands play when he arrived in Berlin to finish the run, pen pal writing through Barbara Bush, and all the travel arrangements for everyone involved. We helped coordinate meetings with some investors for the project. There were two sisters from California who were very wealthy, who had ties with a very famous religious leader, who were providing the main financial backing for the run. Stan had a film director who was filming the whole event.

When the time came for all this to happen, for some unknown reason, the sisters backed out. We never knew the reason why. Stan did go to Russia, but there were no bands to greet him, no fireworks. There was no run.

Unpaid Bills

Later it was discovered that money had gone missing and bills were not paid. All of the printed materials for the run had been ordered through Stan’s non-profit company, and the work was supposed to be paid for through this company. But the bills never got paid, and the printing company came after us. They even put it on our credit report.

Our lives became increasingly difficult. Because the unpaid bills ruined our credit, we had to close our travel business. It was a fairly new business and we believed our involvement with Stan would help us grow. But it did not. Sadly, we had to close the doors. But it didn’t stop the bill collectors from hounding us.

At the time, we had no idea how this all happened. We never did find out why the sisters backed out. We attempted to contact them many times to find out, but they never responded to us.

After we closed our business my husband went back into his previous career of auto design engineering. We had very busy lives raising our children and at some points in our journey moved to other states, and even to other countries. I stayed in touch with Stan and him with me, but very sparingly. I could count on one hand the times we talked to each other after we left Atlanta.

The Great Global Friendship Run

In April of 2009 we were living in Michigan and my husband lost his job in the auto industry. We moved back to Atlanta because this is where our children lived and most of our friends. I called many people we knew in Atlanta, including Stan, to let them know we had moved back to the area.

In August 2009 Stan called me saying he wanted to meet my husband and me to talk about a business opportunity he thought we would be interested in. We met him at Le Madeleine near Perimeter Mall. He told us he was president of a company called Aeon that provided internet phone service, and said if we worked with him in his new business we could make a very good living. My husband wasn’t interested in pursuing the phone business, but we continued to have conversations with Stan about other business opportunities.

He mentioned his plan to run in 66 countries at the age of 66, running 33 miles a day for 2 successive days in each country. He told us about these great international contacts he had, and if we agreed to work with him on putting the run together it would make us all a very comfortable living.

We got very excited about it and decided to help make it happen. My husband started working on it right away. He spent every waking moment working on this.  He has business contacts in other countries, and he worked with them to do the work necessary for the run team as they moved from country to country.

It is very complicated to travel to some of these countries. You can’t just fly to the airport there and expect them to let you in. You have to make arrangement for visas. Some countries won’t let you in if your passport is less than 6 months old.

Then there was the issue of the weather. Stan told us he was able to run only within a specific temperature range, so we had to arrange the run based on what the weather conditions would be in each country. It required a great deal of coordination and detail.

I do not exaggerate when I say my husband worked on this day and night. We had meeting after meeting with Stan to plan it. Stan was constantly calling my husband to let him know he wanted to introduce him to people who could help with the effort.

My husband served as Chief Operating Officer for the run team, and I was one of several Project Coordinators. Everyone was so excited to be part of the Great Global Friendship Run. Everybody was doing their part to make it happen.

We worked with Stan to put together a team of creative people, videographers, photographers, writers, web designers, and other professionals to prepare materials to present to investors. We coordinated the creation of videos, blogs, and a website to promote the run. We devoted our time, 24/7, to do whatever was needed to make it happen.

Then Stan told us God told him not to stop at 66 countries, but to run in all 267 countries of the world. He told us it would take 5 or 6 years and we would have a whole film crew and be making movies, selling motivation videos, workout videos, the whole shebang.

All this was being done in the name of friendship and good will. It would better the USA’s image. We started telling our family and friends we would be out of the country soon for the next 5 or 6 years. They were very excited for us, knowing we would be part of the biggest sporting event in the history of the world.

We Lose Our Home

The work we did for the run team, from August 2009, we were doing for free. We weren’t getting paid to do this. We believed in the vision for the project.

Stan told us he had done a run across Bulgaria a few years before, and he needed $1,200 to get the editing done to complete a film about the run.

We had been unemployed for some time and our home was in foreclosure. We began selling our furniture and other personal items in preparation to move out. We sold the very last of our personal items and gave our last $1,200 to Stan to pay for the final editing of the film about the Bulgaria run. Having a completed film would be very useful in persuading sponsors and investors to provide financial backing. We told ourselves it was for the cause, and we would get it back tenfold when the project took off.

We lost our home in March of 2010 and moved in with friends.

Things Didn’t Seem Right

As time went on I began to notice some things just didn’t seem right about Stan.

He would commit to do something and never get it done. He would be at meetings, and in the middle of the meeting he would talk on the phone all the time. Other times he would even excuse himself from the meeting and say he must take a call, and he would leave the room. It was very unprofessional and rude.

I mentioned all these things to my husband. My husband said they were just Stan’s little character flaws and to just ignore them.

I noticed more and more things weren’t quite right. He knew we had no income except for unemployment, and whenever we met with him or traveled with him he would constantly say he had no cash. He told us all he had was an American Express card, and we would somehow end up at places where they didn’t take American Express.

We were driving to places where Stan wanted to meet, and I would get irritated because it was costing us more and more in gas and in paying for his hot chocolate he drank all the time. Whenever we met, he never seemed to have eaten, and he never seemed to have any cash. He could tell I was irritated, and a few times he handed me $2 for his hot chocolate.

We would meet with possible team members and we would talk about what they could do to help with the run. If they asked for money to get paid for the work they were going to do, Stan would get angry.

They didn’t even have to ask for money outright. If they just hinted at the possibility they wanted to get paid for the work, Stan would get very angry and say later if they had the vision they would do the work for free.

He would complain when we met with possible investors. He told us they should be paying him what the gets for his speaking fees for meeting with them.

During our time with the run team I had to have surgery. After my surgery, all the other members of the run team would ask about how I was doing. Stan never did. When we lost our home he never expressed any concern at all for us or for our situation.

I thought all this was strange, but my husband said to just overlook it.

Tulsa

My husband had contact with a very influential person in Tulsa, Oklahoma who could be a great partner for the run. He wanted to meet Stan, so in July 2010 we arranged to drive from Atlanta to Tulsa to meet him.

The day we left for Tulsa, Stan told us while he was pruning a tree at his mountain home in north Georgia the day before, he had slipped and fallen down a 60 foot embankment. My husband decided it was best for him to do all the driving for the 12 hour trip.

We stayed overnight in a hotel during our trip. We paid for the hotel.

When we got to Tulsa the person we met paid for all our hotel and food expenses. But Stan was not happy. He said this man should be giving us seed money for the run. We thought this was very strange because this person had gone out of his way to pay for our expenses so he could meet Stan. What Stan wanted is not the way business is done.

We filmed a video there to use to promote the run, and attended several meetings with some very influential people and possible sponsors. Stan was again very rude, taking calls in the middle of meetings. He would excuse himself from the room and say he must take calls.

While we were still in Tulsa he told us he hurt his back and couldn’t move at all. We were very worried about him and we rushed him to the emergency room.

While I was helping him get his insurance information at the hospital I found a Visa card in his wallet. I got really irritated because all that time he had said all he had was American Express, and we always seemed to end up at places that didn’t take American Express, and we had been paying for so many of his expenses.

They admitted him to the hospital. We called his wife, Carol, and she said to just get him out of the hospital and drive him home. My husband and I both found this to be very strange, but she said it had happened before and he would be just fine. They kept him in the hospital for the next few days, and then they released him and we drove him home.

On the drive home from Tulsa Stan made lots of phone calls, and his phone rang a lot of times. He was in the back seat whispering into the phone and being very secretive. I thought it was very strange.

We Learn The Truth

The day we got home from Tulsa we had a message on a Facebook page we had created for the run. It was a very angry message. The person thought he was communicating with Stan. He said some pretty horrible things about how Stan had hurt his family. We asked Stan about it and he said it was just some angry person from a business he was in a long time ago. Now we know it was Dr. Joseph Resnick, whose story is on your blog.

The very next day I got a message on Facebook from your mother-in-law, Peggy Smith. I didn’t know who she was. She wanted to meet with me to talk about Stan.

We met, and she had a stack of emails with her an inch thick, photos, and even dvds of her and Stan. She told me her story, how she had become romantically involved with him, how he said he wanted to marry her, how he told her he was in the CIA and a general in the Marines. She told me how she began to suspect things about him, how she had him investigated, and how he had lied to her about being separated from his wife for a year and in the process of a divorce. She told us about the other women she had talked to who Stan had had affairs with, and how he had told them lies, too.

Both my husband and I met with your mother-in-law again later that week. We knew none of the things Stan told her about himself were true. We knew it was all lies. We had talked many times over the previous year with his wife.  We knew he wasn’t in the military because he spent so many hours almost every day with us on the phone and in meetings.

We shared with her what had happened on our trip to Tulsa, and we compared notes.

We told her what he had said about falling at his mountain home. She told us he had told her on the phone he had fallen during our trip to Tulsa. He told her he was having photographs taken for promotional materials for the run, and he had stepped back and fallen down a 60 foot embankment. No one really knows how he got hurt, or if he was really hurt at all.

We told her about his strange behavior on the phone in the car on the way home from Tulsa. We found out your mother-in-law was one of the people he had been whispering to on the phone. We found out at least one of them was another one of his girlfriends who he had promised to marry.

Your mother-in-law told us when she started asking Stan detailed questions about the worldwide run, he told her there was not going to be any run at all. When we found out we had spent a whole year of our lives working without getting paid to put together a run Stan never intended to do, we were in shock.

He Was Lying to Everybody

After we met with your mother-in-law, my husband and I called the other team members. We compared notes, and told them things Stan had told us about them, and we asked them to tell us what he had told them about us. We found out he was lying to everybody.

We took the run website down and the run team was disbanded.

We realized Stan was saying things to purposely keep team members away from each other. He was playing everybody against each other. He would ask us to communicate with the other team members through him. Now we know he did this because he would tell one party one thing, and the other party something else, and he didn’t want any of us to know.

We found out after he introduced my husband and me to potential team members or investors, he would tell them later my husband was a member of the international intelligence community, he was in charge of security for the run, and he had put together a team of 70,000 people to provide security for all of the people who would be traveling from country to country on the support teams for the run. None of this was true.

We found out one of the investors had paid the key people on the team for the work they were doing. This person knew my husband was doing a lot of work, and when he asked about making sure my husband got paid, Stan told the investor not to pay him anything because he didn’t need the money.

The investor believed Stan. He thought my husband didn’t need the money. Stan told the investor to just give him the money he intended to pay my husband.

Stan knew both of us were unemployed. We had lost our home and sold our possessions. We had given him our last $1,200 to pay for the editing of the film about his run across Bulgaria.

And now we know that there really was no run across Bulgaria. One of the people on your blog, Karen Francis, was there with him, and saw that he only ran a few miles into and out of each town, and he rode in a van the rest of the time. He never ran all the way across the country like he said he did.

We knew Stan was acting strangely, but we had no idea he was just using us, and having affairs, and telling so many big lies to so many people. Now we know the whole thing, the worldwide run, was just a big smokescreen to get money.

Stan just uses people to get what he wants. He has no feelings for anyone except himself. He uses people, gets what he wants, and throws them away like a dirty tissue.

Marian Crocker
October 28, 2010

"He'll Lie To You"

As told to me by my 13 year old niece, Leslie Leonard, granddaughter of Peggy Smith.

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I talked to Stan lots of times on the phone. I would be with my Mema and he would call her, and my Mema would ask me if I wanted to talk to him and I said, “Sure.” I talked to him on Skype, too, one time when my Mema was at my house.

He talked a lot about running.

My brother told him on Skype that he was going to run in a 5K. Stan told him he would come run with him, but he never did.

He told me he would come visit us, but he never did.

He told me he was going to put a pool in my Mema’s back yard so I could go swimming, but he never did.

He emailed me lots of scriptures to read and I read them. When I read them I thought he was a really good Christian person and he lived for God. Later on my Mema told me I wouldn’t be talking to him any more because he told lots of lies and stuff.

I asked her what he lied about, and she said, “Everything.”

If anybody ever asked me if it was okay to be his friend I would tell them not to because he’ll lie to you and make you disappointed.

"His Runs Aren't Even Real"

As told to me by Karen N. Frances.

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How We Met

I met Stan Cottrell in 2003 when I participated in a women’s mission trip. Our group went to Bulgaria with Global Action, a ministry that preaches the gospel and meets the physical and spiritual needs of people in many nations.

Stan was a ministry partner with Global Action. I met him when he spoke to our mission group at a dinner in Bulgaria. In his talk he told us about his life, about the two books he had written, and how the books were about overcoming adversity that he had faced in life.

In July 2004 I began facing adversity in my own life. I was experiencing a very bad time in my marriage and I remembered what he had said in his talk. I thought it would be good for me to read his books. I wrote to him and asked where I could get his books.

He sent them to me. He wrote that he didn’t want to take any money for them. I was so surprised. He insisted that I just accept them as a gift.

We exchanged phone numbers, and he called me and asked me questions about my marriage. I let him know that I was going through a difficult time, and that I was separated from my husband. The next morning he sent me a poem saying I was the love he had been looking for for 60 years. He said very flattering things to me. I just couldn’t believe that he remembered me from that brief time we had met in Bulgaria the year before.

In September 2004 we met in Hickory, North Carolina. He told me he loved me and that I was the love of his live. He told me he was separated from his wife and he was getting a divorce, and he wanted to marry me.

I was going through a very hard time in my marriage and I fell victim to something that was stronger than I was at the time. He took advantage of me during a very difficult time in my life.

Bulgaria

He invited me to travel with him overseas. We went to Bulgaria again in 2004, to China in 2006, and to Taiwan in 2007. He said he wanted to take me to these countries, but I paid my own way.

Before the trip to Bulgaria he told me he needed money to produce a movie about his run across the country. It was supposed to be called “Bulgarian Rhapsody.” I gave him $15,000. I know of 2 other people who gave him money, lots of money, in the multiple thousands of dollars. After we got back he told me he needed $50,000 more to finish the Bulgaria movie, and I gave it to him.

But now I know that there was never any movie. It was just an excuse to take money from me and other people.

When we got to Bulgaria I didn’t know what to think. It was hard for me to figure out what was going on. He was supposed to be running across the country, and making a movie, and representing Global Action.

He never ran all the miles he said he did. He was filmed running a few miles into each town, and then a few miles out of each town. The rest of the time he was riding in a van. He was in the van more than he was on the road running. I couldn’t figure out how he was going to run all the miles he was supposed to run. Later on I realized that what he was telling people, that he was running across the country, was all made up just to get people to give him money.

Global Action paid for all his meals and his hotel rooms for the trip. When we got to each town they would set up dinners with the mayor, local business leaders, and other town officials. He was supposed to talk about the ministry efforts with these officials.

The Global Action people and the Bulgarian officials were very disgusted with him because he was supposed to be a role model, and representing a Christian ministry. But at all the official functions he spent all his time promoting an adoption program that had nothing at all to do with Global Action. He wasn’t doing what he had committed to do.

Each person who participates in a Global Action mission trip receives a special book when they return, a book that includes photographs and information specific to that trip. They were so disgusted with Stan that they didn’t even send him one of the books. He was never invited to be a mission partner again.

Other Travels

When we traveled to the other countries he would have meetings with people there. He would tell them that he was going to run across their country and that there would be a movie about it. He told them the movie would be on HBO, and they would make lots of money, and they would be famous. At the time I thought it was all real, but now I know he was just saying all kinds of things to get them to give him money.

He convinced somebody at Johnson & Johnson that these runs were really going to happen, and they gave him a company credit card to use to set things up. He would use it to stay in really nice hotels.

When we traveled and stayed in hotels he would say he had to go to the hotel lobby to get coffee. But looking back now, I know that he wasn’t going to get coffee. There is no way he could ever drink that much coffee. He was going to the hotel lobby so I couldn’t see what he was doing, and he was using the lobby phone to call his other girlfriends.

Indian Artifacts

Stan knew that I had some very valuable Indian artifacts. I had a bowl worth $15,000, a pipe worth $7,000 to $8,000, and a spade worth $4,000. He told me he was opening a museum of Indian artifacts in Kentucky, and he said if I gave my artifacts to him they would be the prize pieces in the museum. He said the museum would attract lots of visitors, and I would recoup my money three times over.

Not only were the artifacts very valuable, but they were priceless to me in terms of sentimental value. My Daddy had found them himself, and he had given them to me. I  thought they would be safe in a museum, and that other people could enjoy them, so I gave them to Stan.

I also spent over $10,000 to buy arrowheads and other artifacts that he said were worth more than I was paying. He said his friend would arrange to buy them, and he had me send checks to his friend at his friend’s address.

He would tell me over and over again how much these relics were really worth, and that I would get all my money back, and more. Now I know that there wasn’t ever going to be any museum.

The Four Star General Jacket

I have heard that he goes around telling people that he is a four star general in the Marines, and he shows them a white jacket with lots of medals and ribbons on it. He has told that lie to so many people. I think he takes that jacket with him everywhere he goes. He calls it his “dress whites” and it has become known as the Four Star General Jacket. Your mother-in-law told me he showed it to her.

I bought him that jacket.

He told me he was going to be in a play in the town where his mountain home is in North Georgia, and he needed some costumes for his part in the play. I bought him four costumes, one of which was that jacket. I bought them from the community theater in my town. I think it’s disgusting that he is pretending to be in the military, with all the people dying overseas.

The four gold stars on each of the shoulders of that jacket were even sewn on by my own mother.

The Warning Signs

My friends and family tried to warn me about him. Looking back on all of it now, I realize that there were lots of signs. There were red flags everywhere. But at the time I didn’t see any of them. I am the kind of person who wants to believe the best about people.

He kept me away from people close to him who knew him. Looking back now, I realize that it was like being in a cult.

I never met any of his children. I traveled with him many, many times to the town where he grew up in Kentucky, where his mother and sisters live. But I never met any of them. He always made some excuse about why it wasn’t a good time to visit.

I was with him at his mountain home many, many times. He never wanted me to meet any of the neighbors. Once we got there he insisted that I go right inside the house and not come outside at all. He would always make up some excuse about why he didn’t want me outside.

He would say that he didn’t want the neighbors to see me, because he didn’t want them to gossip about us. Or the weather would be hot, and we would have his dogs with us, Sir Winston and Lady Katherine, and he would say that it was too hot for the dogs to be outside, so we needed to be in the house.

Now I know why he wanted me inside. He didn’t want the neighbors to see me with him there and tell his wife.

How I Found Out The Truth

In 2007 a friend of Stan’s finally opened my eyes to the truth about what was really happening.

Stan had told me he was traveling, and Stan’s friend knew that he wasn’t. He knew he was at his home near Atlanta – with his wife. He called Stan’s house and sat with me with the phone next to my ear so I could hear both sides of the conversation. Stan’s wife answered the phone and he asked her if Stan was home. She said yes, he was taking a nap, did he want her to wake him up, and Stan’s friend said no, he’d call him back later.

I Was Devastated

Up until that point, I chose not to believe the truth. When I found out the truth I was devastated. I felt such remorse for what I had done, carrying on with a married man. I felt such remorse about what I had done to his wife. I felt so much shame and guilt.

I called him and asked him how he could have carried on like that with me for so long, while he was still married. He said he had to tell me that he was divorced because of financial reasons related to his mother-in-law, and he couldn’t tell me the truth about him still being married because he was afraid he would lose some of his assets – another lie. I told him I never wanted to see him again and to never contact me again.

He kept calling me, and I blocked his number from my home phone. He would send me emails to my work email address, and I couldn’t block that. He sent me lots and lots of emails, saying that he loved me, and making up excuses for what he had done.

He was still sending me emails on and off until earlier this year – three years after I told him to never to contact me again. I never responded to any of them. I don’t want to have any contact with him ever again.

After Stan’s friend opened my eyes to what was really happening, he went to Stan and told Stan to give me back the Indian artifacts that I had given him, that they belonged to me. At that point I had been divorced for some time. I was driving a 1986 Ford Thunderbird and living in a dump apartment, and I needed money. Stan said that the artifacts were his now, and he would never give them back.

His Whole Life Is A Lie

I am willing to do whatever I can to stop him. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. What I have told you is just a small part of what happened between Stan and me. I can’t believe that it all went on for four years.

I am glad I saved all the emails and cards and letters he sent me, and the receipts for the things I bought him, and other things he gave me. You are welcome to have them. I hope you can use them to help make sure he doesn’t hurt any more innocent people.

He gets invited to do talks before lots of different groups, lots of church groups. That’s one of the ways he finds his victims. He has a ministry that he says promotes sports and friendship. He tells people in his talks that he has run across entire countries. But his runs aren’t even real, and what he does has nothing at all to do with friendship.

It’s all about money.

Stan’s whole life is a lie. I am thankful he is being found out. I hope the world will know he is an evil man with an evil purpose. He has deceived so many innocent women, and people all over the world.

May God help us to make right what he has destroyed.

Karen N. Frances
September 21, 2010