There are charitable organizations all around the country that rely on the good faith of mankind. Sadly, not everyone can be trusted when it comes to charitable giving, and some thieves will sink to the lowest lows to take advantage of someone else.
According to the New York Post, a central New York man was recently arrested for swindling people who thought they were making a donation to help children fight cancer.
Deran Akullian Jr., 59, of Saratoga Springs, is suspected of collecting $90,000 over a year while running a fraudulent cancer donation scam. Akullian reportedly placed hundreds of fake jars around businesses in upstate and central New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont. In total, Akullian was collecting cancer donations from fraudulent jars located at more than 300 establishments.
“Makes me feel sick how somebody could do that to kids that really have cancer,” said Richard Heath, a business owner who noticed one of the fraudulent jars out front. “I’m glad he was caught.”
It’s estimated that 23,800 adults and 4,830 children are diagnosed with a cancerous tumor of the brain and spinal cord each year, with tumors making up the vast majority of that number.
Akullian was actually arrested for a similar scam back in 2010. He was caught this time when he ignored certain donations jars for months at a time, subsequently causing the business owners to be skeptical and contact the National Children’s Cancer Society to inquire about a pickup. After hearing from the business owners, the National Children’s Cancer Society learned that Akullian hadn’t turned over any money in years.
“This is hard to fathom, there is no question about it,” added Mark Stolze, president and chief executive officer of the National Children’s Cancer Society.
WCAX reports that Akullian was arraigned on fraud charges on Thursday, July 6, and was sent to Washington County Jail on $20,000 bail. Akullian’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Scott Keller, stated that he has no comment on the fraudulent scheme.