Where Is Your Donation Actually Going?

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Those dreaded bills! What can one do if the pile keeps growing? A native New Jersey couple decided to solve their bill problem through the creation of the fraudulent charity, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation (HSRF).

After Hurricane Sandy hit, many areas which were left devastated looked for aid. One way relief was given was through the contributions of charities. To try and capitalize on this, John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino of Sparta created the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, which they said was a way to raise money by storm victims for other storm victims. Their website, created the day prior to the storm, http://sandyrelief.org/, received more than $631,000 in donations.

So what does one possibly do with all of that money? Help victims relocate their homes? Help build up the shore area or dress people who lost all of their clothing? Unfortunately, this was not the case here – roughly $13,000 from the foundations bank account were allegedly transferred and used by the couple!

What I feel to be even more appalling is the percentage of the donations that were actually given to the victims of the hurricane. The state financial records indicate that less than one percent of the money donated has been disbursed to aid the hurricane victims.

Sandberg and Terraccino’s creation has caused them multiple violations of consumer fraud and charity laws. Thankfully they can expect to be fined for up to $20,000 for each of those violations.

In regards to the donations raised, the Division of Consumer Affairs has ensured that the donations given to this charity will be used towards the purposes initially represented through the foundation.

Is this couple and fraudulent charity being dealt with? The state claims so, but the foundations website has yet to be shut down and their PayPal account continues to accept donations. I guess we’ll have to watch this story as it continues to grow…

What would you say?

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