A television journalist made famous for hosting a controversial investigative series that targeted would-be predators found himself in the hot seat this week after he was arrested in Connecticut.
Chris Hansen, 59, of Shippan, was charged Monday with issuing a bad check to a Stamford business for several thousand dollars in marketing merchandise. He was released without bond after signing a written promise to appear in court.
According to a four-page arrest affidavit obtained by the Stamford Advocate, Hansen placed an order with Promotional Sales Limited of Summer Street in 2017 for several hundred ceramic mugs, T-shirts and decals. The order totaled $12,998.05.
In September 2017, the company allegedly turned over the goods after receiving a check issued by Hansen News LLC ― a company reportedly led by Hansen ― for the entire amount. It bounced.
The timing of the order appears to coincide with Hansen attempting to keep promises he’d made during a Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding “Hansen vs. Predator,” a spinoff of the “To Catch a Predator” series Hansen hosted on “Dateline NBC” from 2004 to 2007.
The original series featured Hansen and an advocacy organization called Perverted Justice posing as younger women and communicating with older men online and then catching would-be sex offenders on camera. The show was criticized for its methods, especially after the suicide of a Texas prosecutor who found himself at the center of a sting.
Kickstarter donors were promised a number of items, including T-shirts and coffee mugs. The campaign raised nearly $90,000 but multiple donors left comments on the Kickstarter page complaining they never received anything.
Similarly, police say Hansen failed to keep with multiple promises he’d allegedly made to reimburse Promotional Sales Limited of Summer Street. The business owner filed a complaint with police in April 2017.
Stamford police investigator Sean Coughlin wrote in the arrest affidavit that Hansen was a no-show after agreeing to meet with him, according to the Stamford Advocate. A follow-up conversation Coughlin details in the affidavit indicates money woes could be to blame.
“I told Chris that I understood that he may have trouble, but that nearly $13,000 is a lot of money to a ‘mom-and-pop’ business and it is not fair that he accepted the material but hasn’t paid for it,” Coughlin wrote.
In April 2018, Promotional Sales Limited of Summer Street allegedly received a personal check from Hansen in the amount of $13,200. It bounced three days later, according to police. Hansen then allegedly emailed the owner of the company. The email, according to the affidavit, read, in part:
I truly thought I had this covered. I am scrambling to get it done. Please give me till the end of the day. I sold a boat to cover the rest of this and need to pick up the payment this afternoon.
A third check was never received, police said, and an arrest warrant was issued for Hansen. He turned himself in to police on Monday, the Stamford Advocate reported.