Hundreds of young girls were looking forward to training at one of the best facilities in the state.
One cheer father said he was going to make it happen. Instead, he took the money and ran.
"When we met, he was introduced to me as Vince Nardoni," said Lea Hebert, owner of Elite Cheer of Michigan.
The man told Hebert his name was Vince Nardoni, but his real name is Scott Northey. He is a convicted con man who just months after getting out of prison showed up in Chesterfield Township with a new girlfriend.
"He had a girlfriend and she had a child," said Hebert. "And they put that child in my facility. So, they were a family member in our program."
Northey knew Hebert and her husband were planning to build a new cheer facility -- a top-of-the-line training facility to give local girls an edge over their national competition.
Suddenly, "cheer dad Vince Nardoni" started dropping hints.
"He told us he built many Ford dealerships and multi-million dollar homes," Hebert said.
Northey convinced the Heberts to go with him as the contractor for the new facility. The Heberts took out a $500,000 loan, borrowed from family, and threw in their kid's college savings and their retirement fund.
"It came out of my husband's 401k, our home equity line of credit. We maxed out our home. My husband's father passed away and we used his entire inheritance," said Hebert.
Elite Cheer was all-in. The future of the girl's cheer program looked bright with eager kids, top teachers and a new building under construction. Then, Hebert discovered a lien on her property.
"As soon as I got the lien, the lien slapped on me, my heart sank. I felt like there was something majorly wrong," Hebert said.
She immediately called Vince Nardoni. He didn't answer.
"He stopped returning my calls," she said.
Hebert confronted one of Nardoni's supposed workers.
"'Who's Vince Nardoni?' And I said, 'Vince Nardoni is your boss.' And he looked at me and goes, 'My boss is Scott Northey.' And my heart dropped," she said.
A quick Google search for Scott Northey brought Hebert to tears.
"The minute I Googled Scott Northey, I found three months prior to me meeting him, he got out of federal prison," she said.
Northey had made a quick bankruptcy filing. For Hebert, recovering her losses seemed impossible.
"It affected not only myself but my entire program," Hebert said. "The entire community. Hundreds of kids that were so looking forward to this big, awesome new facility that their kids could call home and train at."
Hebert was not about to let Northey get away with it.
"When somebody goes ahead and files for bankruptcy, then there is no, there is no relief," she said. "You know, you don't get paid back. And I think that's where I sat back and said, 'How could somebody just walk away stealing that much and nothing happens to them at all?'"
She tracked down FBI agents who had busted Northey in the past. She turned over all the evidence of his dealings with Elite Cheer. Soon, bank fraud charges were filed against Northey.
"He is probably the biggest con man, con person, I've ever met. I've ever met in my entire life," Hebert said.
With a little help and lot of determination, Elite Cheer not only survived, it has thrived. While the program is still in its original building, lessons have been learned. Being knocked down is OK, as long as you get back up and keep fighting as you move forward.