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Kansas Man Defrauds His Own Sandy Hook Elementary Charity

October 25, 2016

The Sandy Hook shootings that occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, are still vividly haunting many Americans. 20 children between the ages of six and seven were shot dead along with six adult staff members. It was a massacre, a tragedy, and when someone tries to take that heartbreak and capitalize on it, it is unforgivable.

A Kansas man, Robert Bruce, 35, created a charity in the name of the Sandy Hook shooting. This was a 26.4.26 Foundation, an inspiration movement that flourished in the wake of Sandy Hook, that would ask for charitable donations to raise funds for increased school safety, families of victims, and memorials to teacher heroes, awareness and prevention in schools across America.

In 2013, Bruce received contributions at athletic events via PayPal, stating that all funds would go to the 26.4.26 Foundation. He promoted the events on social media and solicited contributions online. Instead of using all of the funds for the charity, Bruce spent $28,657.31 of the donated money on his personal training business.

Bruce has now been charged with wire fraud. His sentence is three years probation for defrauding contributors. Bruce will spend the first six months of his sentence on house arrest. He will also have to pay restitution in that amount to the Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund, a Newtown, Conn. based fund that’s spent on schools, parks and playgrounds in the town.

FBI Special Agent Kevin J. Kline said in response to Bruce’s actions, “Creating a fraudulent charity to exploit a tragedy for personal gain is unconscionable. These investigations will continue to be a priority for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”