NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced an agreement Friday with a Superstorm Sandy charitable organization that allegedly misled the public by diverting donated funds into personal accounts.
Under the terms of a final consent judgment and settlement agreement, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation agreed to have an outside administrator distribute all contributions before the organization dissolves. The agreement also bars John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino, the former principals of HSRF, from ever running a charity related to Sandy and from serving in any leadership position in any charitable organization in New Jersey for at least two years.
"Charities are required to operate in an open and transparent manner, to ensure the public maintains its trust that donations are used as intended," Hoffman said. "Annual registration, which requires financial disclosure, is the foundation of accountability to the public. We will act, as we did in this case, whenever we believe our charities laws and regulations have been violated."
HSRF, Sandberg and Terraccino allegedly diverted donated funds into their personal accounts, misled donors with false claims about how the donations would be used, falsely claimed that donations were tax-deductible and otherwise deceived New Jersey residents in violation of the state's charity registration and consumer protection laws.
A settlement amount of $79,195.18 for attorney and court costs will be suspended and automatically vacated at the end of four years, as long as Sandberg and/or Terraccino comply with the terms of the settlement.