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Fraud Funds to Help Sandy Victims

Money originally donated to help victims of Superstorm Sandy will be used for that purpose, but it took some twists and turns getting into the right hands.

The Northeast Coast Marks One Year Anniversary Of Hurricane Sandy
Kena Betancur, Getty Images

The $225,000 in contributions to four legitimate charities was initially donated to an unregistered charity that allegedly broke the law by misleading donors according to acting State Attorney General John Hoffman.

“In response to the suffering caused by Superstorm Sandy, donors flocked to this organization in the hope that their money would help storm victims and repair damaged communities,” said Hoffman in an emailed press release. “Today, thanks to our investigation and enforcement action, we are ensuring that their charitable good intentions are being carried out.”

The original donations were made to Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, but in February of 2103, the Division of Consumer Affairs filed a law against HSRF’s principals, John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino. Both were accused of violating the law by running an unregistered charity, diverting donated funds into their personal accounts and misrepresenting that donations were tax-deductible when HSRF did not have tax-exempt status.

Four months after the suit was filed, New Jersey reached a settlement allowing it to disperse the donations. Sandberg and Terraccino are permanently barred from soliciting contributions in New Jersey for Superstorm Sandy relief and are banned, for at least of two years, from serving in a leadership position in any charitable organization in the Garden State.

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