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Fraudulent Website Tries to Cash in on Newtown Tragedy

Outrage was compounded with tragedy as fraudulent website solicited donations in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School victim Noah Pozner.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/20/2012, 11:29 PM

People light candles at a memorial for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in Newtown
People light candles at a memorial for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in Newtown
Reuters

Outrage was compounded with tragedy when it was discovered that a fraudulent website was set up soliciting donations in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School victim Noah Pozner.

Claiming to offer support and consolation, the site, created by an individual unknown to the Pozner family, claimed it would send all cards, packages and money collected to Noah’s parents and siblings.

The Pozner family found out about the deceitful site when a friend received an email seeking monetary donations for the family.

Poorly punctuated, it gave details about Noah, his funeral, family and friends. The site also included a petition on gun control. CNN’s Anderson Cooper then dedicated a segment of his evening broadcast to the fraud, urging individuals to adequately check where they are sending their donations.  

Noah's uncle, Alexis Haller, called on law enforcement authorities to seek out "these despicable people."

"These scammers are taking away from families and the spirits of dead kids," he said, according to Fox News.

This is far from the first time such scams have sought to take advantage of those in mourning. Similar sites were created after 9/11, after the Columbine massacre, after Hurricane Katrina, and after this summer's movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

"It's abominable," said Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, which evaluates the performance of charities. "It's just the lowest kind of thievery."

The family's official site, noahpozner.org, is soliciting funds for Noah's Ark of Hope, which a disclaimer at the bottom of the page says "is the only official website for payment to directly and solely benefit the siblings of Noah Pozner."

The donations will reportedly go toward counseling for Noah's four surviving siblings, as well as other means of relief for the family.

Pozner was one of 27 people, including 20 children, shot and killed on Dec.14 by a 20-year-old lone gunman at the elementary school in Newton, Connecticut.