City police are asking that anyone who donated to Lifeline Associates & Friends give them a call, after detectives learned the foundation may have raised funds fraudulently.
Continuing an investigation that began in July but picked up steam last week, detectives obtained and executed a search warrant Friday afternoon for a residence at 122 East Blvd., where they seized several pieces of evidence that indicated Lifeline Associates & Friends is a fraudulent organization, said Capt. Donald VanDeusen of Gloversville police.
Detectives did not make any arrests, however.
The alleged foundation advertised itself as a safe haven for rape, domestic violence and abuse victims, he said. It boasted legal services and advice and asked for donations to open a halfway house for abused women.
“They circulated fliers, contacted local media about this and some of the information they portrayed to the local media we’re starting to find was false information,” VanDeusen said. “And what we’re looking to get now is a total of what they collected from members of the public so that we can continue our investigation into this.”
The donations Lifeline sought may have been for a women’s walk in Myer’s Park or for a raffle of a television, he said. The walk and raffle never took place, he said.
VanDeusen declined to provide the names of the organization’s founders, but in an Aug. 7 interview with televisions station WNYT, Roseline Hartz and Lawrence Snyder sat down to talk about the organization and introduced themselves as its co-founders.
Snyder, who identified himself as the 17-year-old Hartz’s uncle, said in the interview that she started the organization about a year ago to work toward raising funds to open a halfway house for abuse survivors. Snyder said in the interview that while in France, Hartz’ mother was abused, and that inspired her daughter to want to help other people in the same situation.
“When domestic violence came to me, I didn’t have anything to help me, so I just wanted to create something to help women get help,” said Hartz.
According to its flier, Lifeline asked that interested persons mail a form and entry fee to P.O. Box 1017 in Gloversville for a “Walk for Women” in Myer’s Park from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 17.
No one answered Wednesday at two different numbers provided on the flier.
Police don’t have an estimate of the total amount of funds collected through the foundation or of how many people may have donated.
“It could be 20 people, it could be 200 people,” VanDeusen said. “We don’t know, so that’s why we’re putting this information out there. We need to determine how much money is actually involved. Right now there’s no indication that any of the funds were used toward anything that was advertised on the flier.”
Gloversville police ask anyone who donated to the group to call detectives at 773-4569.
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Categories: Schenectady County