A top official from the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. – the Obama-backed, rival upstart to Harry Alford’s National Black Chamber of Commerce – has a checkered past and faces criminal charges from allegations he exploited a Hurricane Katrina victim.

According to Raleigh, N.C.-based WRAL, which broke the story, Brandon Trainer, who led the North Carolina Regional Black Chamber of Commerce and served as treasurer for the U.S. Black Chamber, skipped town in 2006 when he was charged with defrauding a Hurricane Katrina victim out of $1500.

Trainer was treasurer for the U.S. Black Chamber and on its board of directors. His biography page on the U.S. Black Chamber’s website has been taken down. Officials from the U.S. Black Chamber did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Trainer was also charged in Missouri in 2006 for felony theft. He was accused of pretending to be a mortgage broker and taking $1500 from Claymiko Mays under false pretenses. After posting bond, Trainer skipped town. The charges are pending.

Years later, Trainer resurfaced in North Carolina and launched a black chamber of commerce there. But police uncovered his true identity after he was pulled over for speeding.

As reported by The Daily Caller, President Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, has backed the U.S. Black Chamber over Alford’s National Black Chamber of Commerce, bringing Ron Busby, the head of U.S. Black Chamber to the White House for bill signings and important speeches, and his staff even helping coin the new organization’s motto, “the national voice of the black business community.”

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