There were many charities created to help with the Superstorm Sandy hurricane that hit the east coast in late 2012. One such charity suspected of fraud, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, has finally finished distributing $325,000 under a settlement with a New Jersey prosecutor. The funds have been re-distributed to several legitimate aid groups in the recovery effort.
The final $100,000 was given to two New Jersey charities – $75,000 to Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County, and $25,000 to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
“We are bringing closure to the many well-intentioned and generous donors who gave to this allegedly fraudulent charity, and bringing genuine relief to low-income families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy,” Acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a prepared statement.
New Jersey’s acting attorney general says the money will bring relief to low-income families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy. Officials in New Jersey sued the foundation and its operators in February 2013, claiming they used donations for personal expenses and failed to properly register as a charity.
In April, $225,000 was distributed to four groups in New Jersey and New York, including Toms River-based O.C.E.A.N., Inc., the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune, Alliance Center for Independence in Edison and Graybeards, Ltd., a group based in Rockaway, N.Y.
The Attorney’s General office and the Divisions of Consumer Affairs alleged the foundation’s founders, John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino, diverted donations into their personal accounts and falsely claimed the foundation was registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, fooling donors into believing their donations would be tax deductible.