The General Police Inspectorate Takes Note of ZdG Investigation About Bogus Charities on Social Media

The General Police Inspectorate Takes Note of ZdG Investigation About Bogus Charities on Social Media
20 July 2020 | 14:44

The representatives of the General Inspectorate of Police announce that the institution took note of the article about the bogus charities on social media platforms wrote by ZdG. The investigation published by ZdG showed that charity scams that spread on social media platforms, tried to engage Moldovan citizens to donate money to bogus charities. 

At the beginning of this month, ZdG investigated four charity scams that spread on social media platforms. The fraudsters were trying to engage Moldovan citizens to donate money for bogus charities featuring children suffering from serious illnesses and needing money for urgent treatment or surgeries.

While investigating the four bogus charities, ZdG found out that in three of the cases the children featured in the photos as Moldovan were actually from Russia, Romania and the U.S. ZdG also found that no person featured in the photos benefitted from the money donated in the campaign. 

Following ZdG’s investigation, the police opened a case trying to identify the people involved and the people who suffered following the bogus charities. 

“The IT Crimes Investigation Directorate of the National Investigation Inspectorate of the General Inspectorate of Police took note of ZdG investigation, registered the case and started the examination procedure. 

The investigation is ongoing, and the police is trying to identify the persons involved, both those who created the pages and those who suffered. 

We ask the citizens who fell into the trap of these people and the parents of the children whose pictures were used to notify the police at ccci@mai.gov.md (in the case of persons abroad) or at the headquarters of the National Investigation Inspectorate from str. Bucuriei 14, mun. Chișinău,” it is said in the answer offered by the General Inspectorate of Police at ZdG request. 

Constantin Reabenchii lives in Cinișeuți, Rezina district, the north of Moldova

Among the false charity cases analyzed by the ZdG journalist was that of Constantin Reabenchii, a boy from Rezina district who suffers from the butterfly disease (bullous epidermolysis), a rare and extremely severe disease.

ZdG found the boy suffering from the butterfly disease. Indeed, his name is Constantin. He is from Cinișeuți, Rezina district, north of Moldova. He has been fighting this disease since early childhood. 

Now, Constantin is 22 years old. He told us that an unknown person, without his consent, took his pictures from his page. He also mentioned that this person is using his illness and is pocketing donations.

Elena Gorbatenchi, Constantin’s mother, says that she also found out that an unknown person is using her son’s illness to make money and declares that she filed a complaint with the police, where she lives (Cinișeuți, Rezina district).

On July 8, 2020, the Rezina Police Inspectorate informed Elena Gorbatenchi, Constantin’s mother, that the investigation was finished.

Although that reply states that the facts described by Elena Gorbatenchi in her complaint were true, the investigation was finished because the woman had not suffered material damage as a result of her son’s pictures being used without her consent.

Contacted by ZdG, the woman was disappointed by the outcome of the police investigation. She claims that she cannot afford to hire a lawyer to help her in a trial, and request non-pecuniary damages (as the police suggested). 

However, ZdG identified at least two people who could be declared victims of internet fraud. These persons were moved by the posts about the seriously ill children, donated money to the accounts displayed in the respective announcements.

One of the people who donated for the Melisa Case from the ZdG investigation is Natalia Negrei, a Moldovan living in Italy. The young woman also sent us proof of the transfer of the amount of 25 euros to the account of Andrei Ouș, the owner of the bank cards that accompanied the fake charity announcements.

“It’s not an important amount, but anyway I felt disgusted and even embarrassed that I was fooled. We also made other donations, I hope they reached the people who needed it,” Natalia told us.

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