"It sounded legit . It sounded really legit," he said, sounding almost confused.
Ivory Goods knows a good deal, and a good guy, when he sees it.
"I don't know if you're a praying person. But you pray to God sometimes, and say I just need help right now, Lord. Then something like this comes along,and you think this has to be a blessing from the Lord," he said.
"I met him face to face and he seemed to be a good guy, a swell guy," Goods said. "I thought this seemed like a good thing. He said it was a program that was funded through the government."
Or that's what he thought, at least, when he met a businessman six weeks ago. Goods said Joe Strong offered to help him, his mother, his brother, his uncle and his god sister make payments on mortgages, utilities and other bills if they paid a small percentage upfront.
"Right now , my mom is two months behind on her mortgage. She's behind on her electricity, facing a shut off notice," Goods said. "Everything h said he had paid , it's all been kicked back out," he said. "Since all this has went down, he won't meet me face-to-face. He keeps sending me text messages, even today, saying he was taking care of it."
"They pay the bill, so everything looks good. But then they pull the payment six or so days after you check to make sure it's paid," Goods said.
According to Goods and his family, Strong never asked for the personal information you would expect like Social Security numbers and birth dates. He simply asked for the account number and his payment, which made the Goods family feel more secure.
Major Lafayette Woods said he knows Strong from his 10-page-long rap sheet at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the people Strong appears to have scammed in the past.
"His selling point for people is he offers to pay the bills for you if you pay him a percentage, he'll cover the rest," Woods said. " But I would say 80 percent of them [his customers] got no type of response at all when they had given him money."
Theft of property, forgery, fraud, and hot checks were all part of Strong's criminal history, according to Woods. And the practice eventually landed him in prison a few years ago.
"Most of the times we have known him to do business, it's something shoddy, something fraudulent, and basically a scam to get people out of their money," Woods said. "I would caution people to be very skeptical when doing business with him."
The Arkansas Attorney General's Office has had Strong on its radar since 2010, issuing a consumer alert back then to warn people of the very scams Strong's described as running today.
It's like a big old rock dropped on my head, and I was floored to find out he had this criminal past," Goods said. "Once I started digging, the more furious I became. He did this to my family, my immediate family. I thought it was a way to help them, and now I feel responsible that they're all in this mess."
Goods' family has been taken for more than $2,000 so far.
"Where is his morals. Where is his heart? " Goods asked. "He ain't got that in his heart. He's just waiting to take you. And he's got a good way to take you, too."
Goods is warning others that when a business offer sounds to good to be true, you'd be better off believing it is.
"To be taken like that -- it's not good," Goods said. "I don't want anybody going through what we're going through right now. We're trying to make the best of it. Trying to figure out a way to help people I thought I was helping before but that now have to have the help to get by."
Goods attempted to call Strong on numbers he had been provided and had received text messages from as recently as Wednesday. Strong didn't answer.
KARK made additional calls to Strong, which went unreturned by the time of broadcast.
According to Major Woods, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is keeping a look out for Strong, who has received certification from the Secretary of State to open "First Choice Bank" in Pine Bluff. That business is registered to a residential address that belongs to Strong's mother, according to Woods.
The business plan, according to paperwork filed with the state, is to sell prepaid money cards and phone cards, not operating as an actual banking financial institution.