In January we published a story about a north shore business owner named Victor Oliveira, who had gotten a lot of positive media coverage for his drug addiction recovery nonprofit “The Good Project.” Here’s a synopsis of what happened:
- Oliveira is an ex-con who did time for drug dealing and built a following of over 2 million people on TikTok by making viral videos of himself offering jobs, food, and other necessities to random homeless people he encountered while driving. He was featured on WCVB and on a Barstool Sports podcast, which was taken down after we reported that the organization appeared to be fraudulent. He called himself “The Good Boss,” and appears to mostly employ immigrants.
- In October 2022 he incorporated The Good Project as a nonprofit and appointed his mother and fiance to the board of directors.
- He also hired a man named Mike Bates, who we previously published a blog about after he was convicted of securities fraud (stealing $50K from his son’s flag football coach), went to jail for 6 months, left behind an entire yard full of printers, owes $18K in child support for the daughter he exploits on his TikTok channel, started a $25K GoFundMe scam after his ex-wife was diagnosed with MS, asked his TikTok followers to write character letters to the probate court judge so that he could continue to exploit her, started another company to pimp out his girlfriend on Only Fans, had multiple restraining orders on him from ex-girlfriends, and ruined his son’s credit by stealing his social security number to rent an apartment.
- Bates also scammed a TikTok guy with 800K followers named Kevin who goes by Inked Plumber, by pretending to be an e-commerce t-shirt distributor who would send merch to Kevin’s fans that they purchased in his online store. He ended up pocketing all the money without ever sending out any merch.
- Bates was advertised as the Vice President, CFO, and later the COO of The Good Project, and acted as the front man for the organization.
- The Good Project’s stated mission was to “DO GOOD,” by finding drug addicted people and getting them into long term treatment facilities. They solicited donations from $1-25K and gave donors “certificates of GOOD” in exchange.
- Victor’s Tik Tok account is entirely self-promotional and exploits vulnerable people in hopes of soliciting donations and positive press. He films the homeless without their consent and makes them spin a wheel to see what kind of prize he’s going to give them.
- A homeless man who reached out to us after he was exploited in a TikTok video by Oliveira and promised a job. He showed us text messages of him contacting Oliveira that were ignored. As luck would have it Oliveira tried to exploit him again on Tik Tok months later, forgetting that he had already promised this man a job.
- On their website you could pay to sponsor any addict they had on their website, like some sort of junkie a la carte. But all of the donations went to the same PayPal account controlled by Mike Bates.
- They began to team up with other well respected nonprofits in different locations like The Guardians, run by a man named Izzy White out of Baltimore. Izzy got them in touch with a Missouri man who goes by Voodoo Misfits, who sent Oliveira and Bates $210K that he specifically requested to go to rehab facilities for people in crisis he had chosen to sponsor. TGP’s positive publicity and status as a nonprofit made donors more comfortable that this was not a scam.
- Voodoo sponsored an Oklahoma man named Steele Walker and gave TGP $20K to fly him to Boston and put him in a long term rehab facility. When he arrived they forced him to appear in TikToks before abandoning him in a halfway house without any help. Bates also gave him prescription drugs.
- Voodoo asked for receipts to show where his donated money had gone towards, but Victor refused to do so and began to bad mouth him on his Tik Tok channel.
- TGP raised $23K for a pregnant woman to receive treatment, even though her treatment would’ve been covered by Medicaid. Most of the people they claimed to have helped had their treatment covered by insurance.
- Victor was made aware of Bates background, but felt there was nothing wrong with allowing a criminal who was recently released from prison for committing securities fraud, to be in charge of the money.
- Bates insisted he never touched the money, despite listing his job as CFO for The Good Project.
- TGP makes thousands of dollars in small donations from random people on social media when they virtue signal about all the good they are doing, but there appears to be no accounting for the money.
- Oliveira started a $35K GoFundMe for a non-existent homeless man he had no intention of helping.
- Victor refused to provide any receipts to us about where the money went.
- After we wrote about him Victor made a video claiming to be the victim of bullying, alleging that our story was filled with lies about him misappropriating donated money, defending Mike Bates, and telling me to stop exposing him.In that video Victor said that we could’ve met face to face prior to publication of the article and said he was still willing to do so.
- Oliveira came on the Live Show and ended up making himself look even worse.
In February Kevin, AKA Inked Plumber, agreed to fly from his home in North Carolina to meet with Victor and Mike in Boston when they offered to show him their books. After meeting with them he posted a video on Tik Tok claiming that he was wrong about Oliveira and Bates, because he had looked at their records and saw that they had spent the donated money properly. Kevin said that they were simply unorganized and offered an apology to them on video, at which points Bates stood up and awkwardly forced Kevin to hug him (despite the fact that Bates stole thousands of dollars from Kevin’s Tik Tok followers with the fake merch scam).
Several people who read our first story ended up contacting us about this because it didn’t seem right. Some speculated that they had paid off Kevin because his influence on social media was hurting their business. I had previously spoken to Kevin and found him to be honest and straight forward, so I reached out to him about it. He told me that Oliveira and Bates had shown him money moving around, but not specifically where the money was going to. I don’t believe that he was paid off to say these things, I just think he wanted to move on with his life and didn’t have time for the drama. He seems like an extremely laid back person.
Now that Bates and Oliveira had gotten Kevin off their back the next thing they wanted was the blogs to come down. This must be hurting their ability to attract donors because our blog comes up when you search for them online. They asked Kevin to be the intermediary, and we arranged to have an in person meeting on Friday, March 23. Kevin booked his plane ticket to Boston.
Before the meeting I requested 2 things:
- That I be allowed to stream it.
- That they send me documents they planned on showing me ahead of time.
I wanted to stream it for transparency. No one witnessed the actual meeting between the three of them in February and as a result many were skeptical. I wanted the documents ahead of time so I could research the places where money was going to in order to see if they accepted insurance, Medicaid, etc, or if they were laundering money to friends of theirs.
For some reason Victor wasn’t talking at all, despite being in charge of the nonprofit. He had always claimed that Bates didn’t touch the money, but Bates did all the talking in our group chat. Bates refused to agree to my terms, but asked for me to make a video correction.
In other words, he wasn’t willing to be transparent at all, and would only agree to answer questions off camera that he agreed to answer. He called this a compromise, but he wasn’t in a position to ask for a compromise. His organization needed the blog to come down because it’s hurting their ability to make money like they used to. My business would be unaffected whether or not we met.
Bates also refused to send me any documents, and would only allow me to monitor them on his computer in front of him. He also wanted to clear up any personal questions about why he went to jail and owes so much money in child support.
Bates then went on to say that he didn’t want to stream it because he didn’t want the financial documents to be made public, even though nonprofits by law must make all of their financial documents public annually.
“We have nothing to hide.” – Convicted criminal who is attempting to hide public documents from the public.
“We would love to clear the air,” as long as you allow us to lie to your face without asking any questions and then go and take all your blogs down about us.
Mike Bates is a career conman who is used to lying his way out of everything. He apparently thought that I was just another stupid person he could con with his act.
Kevin ended up brokering a deal where we would live stream the meeting but they couldn’t send me the documents ahead of time. Victor wasn’t talking at all until the ominous “I’m excited to meet you” comment, which was supposed to make me feel intimidated or something. I asked them if I could make an announcement and Victor got cold feet so we arranged a FaceTime call.
The conversation was productive. Victor was worried he wouldn’t be able to control his temper around me for some reason, and didn’t trust me. I assured him that all I wanted to do was see where the money went and clear the air. If it turned out that every donated dollar was accounted for and went to a legitimate recovery center, then I would happily take the blogs down and issue a public apology. I understood why he was skeptical of me, but I assured him that I wasn’t out to get him and only wanted to report the truth. We agreed to move forward with the meeting on March 23.
Victor once again got cold feet, but Kevin convinced him that I just wanted to see what he had seen and the meeting remained on.
Today I texted them to make sure we were still on for Friday night, but Bates said that he had convinced Victor to back out.
Translation – they know they pocketed and spent all the money on themselves, and they know I’m not going to be as easily convinced as Kevin was.
All this interaction did was reaffirm my initial belief that The Good Project has taken in millions of dollars and only spent a fraction of that getting people help and treatment. We know that some people have been helped by TGP, which is great. But helping some people doesn’t mean it’s OK to prey on people in crisis and those who wish to help them in order to enrich yourselves.
To this day Oliveira and Bates continue to make self serving TikToks exploiting the homeless, and bragging about giving money to vulnerable, drug addicted people.
Kevin’s truce with them has undoubtably helped their reputation on Tik Tok, as he is trusted and they are no longer grilled with questions by Kevin’s followers. Bates recently shared a video of him and his new plastic girlfriend flying with Victor and his baby momma to a fancy gala they were invited to attend.
I will say this though – it makes me happy that they tried so hard to get this taken down. I had almost forgotten about them, but clearly they have not forgotten about me. Every day the blogs remain up they get annoyed by them. Every time a potential sponsor cancels after Googling them they wish those blogs weren’t there. Their desperation to have the blogs showed me that I hurt their ability to scam other people, which made it all worth while.
The bottom line is that if there’s nothing to hide then they’d open their books to the public. They’re required to do so with the IRS by May 15, and I anxiously look forward to reviewing those documents when they’re made public.