My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Missing Money, Invisible iPads

This is Joyce.  Please allow me to begin by thanking you, our readers. I truly never expected the out pouring of support to come through so loud, clear and quickly.  Please know this situation will not deter Sarah and I from blogging. Quite the contrary. We have so many amazing new things to talk  about.

But for now, the truth.  This blog was being used last evening by a team of folks much smarter than I am in the underworkings, innerworkings and outworkings of computers and the internet.  They were searching for various IP addresses, map locations, comment patterns, etc. Why? All in the efforts to catch a predator. A viper. The devil in disguise. Unfortunately, there has been a very ugly situation playing out that many of our blogging families got caught up in.

I am going to very briefly summarize what happened. I am only doing this as a learning tool. A platform to help get a message out. I do not want comments here about who was wrong, who is to blame, or who is supporting whom. This is not the place.

Let's not forget this is Sarah's blog and she does not really understand what is going on.  She was not happy that I put a frowning face up. So this next picture is for you Sarah...

Here is a quickie version...
1. Person A writes a blog about a girl.
2. He claims she is his daughter.
3. She suffers from infantile spasms.
4. She needs surgery that insurance won't cover.
5. He puts up a Chip-in widget on his blog. 
6. People start giving money.
7. Ipads become popular as a tool for youngsters who need a little extra help with tasks such as speaking.
8. Person A offers a few iPads for "special needs" children who could use them.
9. Person A has a boss who is a generous kind of guy.
10. The boss decides to offer iPads to worthy families.
11. They select a handful then nice boss offers more iPads for the families as he is moved to tears by the stories he has read.
12. More worthy families send him applications with personal info.
13. Some families get emails to put money into chip-in account to help cover postage.
14. Some do. Some don't. Some ask a relative to give for them as they have little money which is why they thought this offer of iPads was so generous.
15. The kind boss offers up more iPads if chip-in reaches a certain level.
16. Chip-in reaches $29,000+.
17. Person A now claims there will be 40 iPads to give away.
18. Person A claims seven iPads are mailed.
19. A month or so goes by.
20. No families have received iPads.
21. They start searching out other families who won.
22. Pattern is starting to develop and become known to certain families this might be a scam.
23. Person A receives an email demanding certain things such as taking down the chip-in, and mail the iPads.
24. Person A uses this as a great blogging material, tells us all his family has been threatened. He has called authorities.
25. Not sure if Person A knows this but authorities are already working behind the scenes to validate the funds he has collected and his true whereabouts.
26. Many iPad "winners" start emailing about Person A. (This is where I got involved)
27. Person A blogs that his boss and he have determined that the shipping department at their company screwed up with the mailing of said iPads.
28. Emails fly between Person A and others.
29. Person A blogs that an employee in the mailing department is fired.
30. Bloggers blog and a website goes up called SNAvenger demanding more answers.
31. Person A claims if he divulges his boss or the company he works for, he will be fired and they will loose their health insurance for sick daughter.
32. Ellen at Love That Max does a post. The comments go berserk.
33. Person A after much pleading admits there are no iPads.
34. Person A offers to refund money.
35. Person A blogs that he wants to refund money, he really does, but PayPal won't let him.
36. Two bloggers, Ken and Heather, go live with a plan to attempt to truly get iPads in the hands of those families that were expecting them.
37. Person A claims he has now been fired from job. 
38. Authorities are zooming in on the real identity of Person A. 

It does sound like the outline of a primetime television movie, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, there are many real families and businesses who were taken in with giving money. And there are forty families who were living under the impression that an Ipad was coming their way.  Some even changed appointments with speech therapists in anticipation of it's arrival. One even turned down a communication board from her school district, thinking her son would be getting his iPad soon.

I will let you draw your own conclusions. Your own moral of the story.


Heather said...

Love to you my friend.And,thank you for your support and of course your beautiful heart and last but never least,your beautiful Sarah.

Vicky said...

That is absolutely terrible Joyce. I hope they find out who this person is and deal with them as appropriate. I also really hope that the families concerned do get an iPad eventually

belehcar said...

I've been reading your blog and other for a year and have been following that certain blog for much of this time. I was honestly shocked at what happened. I hope you are sure the authorities have been notified. This is very wrong!

Unknown said...

This is such a horrible story! Your blog and Sarah's is always so full of light it almost makes one forget that there are snakes like this out there. Thank you for sharing what has been going on. It will help everybody be a little more careful in the future.

blogzilly said...

That's a fairly decent description of the events, I'm not sure of the exact order, but it doesn't matter, you aren't writing a book. You've got the gist down.

And the names, etc. of the driving forces and such will come out in due time. Right now establishing order and stability out of this is pretty important.

Cammie Heflin said...

This was a very good post Joyce! I was talking to Heather the other night about all of this going on and I was blown away. It is so sad that people use others and things can go so poorly when there are those of us that truly love all of these children that we read about daily and look at so many as inspirations for our little ones. Especially Sarah. I look at her and hope and pray that Addy is accepted by her peers and a successful adult as Sarah is. Love you guys and pray for all of those affected by this!

my family said...

this is terrible that someone preys upon certain groups who really could use these important devices. such a shame. Thank you for the info

The Hapa Girl said...

This is just plain Ugly in every way!

Rochelle said...

Ack, I go to Ukraine for 5 weeks and this is what I miss... Maybe we should go back. Ugh! So sorry to all these families.

Melissa said...

The whole situation is just sad.

Patti said...

What's so sad is it casts a cloud over online fundraising...which we've personally seen to be an absolute blessing for many orphans on Reece's Rainbow! Just makes my blood boil, and I hope that everything is resolved, and this guy is caught.
Just out of curiosity, Joyce- do you think there really was a dad named M*** with a daughter named M****? Or do you think that whole blog was a fabrication as well?

Anonymous said...

Horrible. I googled Marisa's Bunny and there was a website that said she was born in 2008 and then a facebook that said 2007? Hmmm.... This is going to be a cleansing tonic sweeping through the special needs community me thinks.

JRS said...

Hi Joyce,
Thanks for the summary. What a very bad person. I'm glad the giveaway smelled too good to be true to apply. Maybe we could develop a crack squad of SN parents to sniff out any fishy sounding sites that should come up in the future and nip this kind of stuff in the bud. I know we have some really savvy parents out there. If the site is on the up and up, they wouldn't have anything to hide. Just a thought.

Mary said...

Wow. That is truly unbelievable! So sad.