Many of us truly believe that Sage’s tragic story has been exploited for donations to a reward fund to the extent that the fund is potentially a legal scam inflicted upon many pet lovers and is not an isolated incident. If it is not a scam, it would take close scrutiny with a microscope to differentiate and at minimum be considered immoral and unethical. The reward fund practices, accounting, and distribution should be exposed to all donors, lawmakers, and regulatory agencies.
I recently recalled from years ago when I was talking to a police detective that I had offered to set up a reward fund of several thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for a violent crime. The detective thought it was a good idea and indicated that he would let the appropriate people know of the reward fund. I asked him if I needed to deposit the funds into an escrow account to make the offer creditable. He told me not to bother or worry about funding because reward funds are almost never dispersed.
The following is fictitious satire about a potential money scam:
I could set up this website $$$.rewardfund.com and list all the heinous crime victims that I could find and offer to set up a reward fund for each case. I could offer a donation of $100 myself for each to lend credibility knowing that my funds were really not at risk because reward funds are almost never dispersed.
Here is the model for success:
- Do absolutely zero investigation into the truth or facts of the crime. This is a very critical component because we are only concerned about if the story is a good tearjerker.
- Create numerous touching emotional posters and pictures complete with candles and prayers for each victim on the website
- Organize a local vigil complete with public announcements and offer the above tearjerker posters to all the news media that can be encouraged to attend.
- Make certain that the news media records some close-up emotional interviews with the family
- Make certain that each member of the media has the $$$.rewardfund.com website address which has an on line donation request and our phone number for reporting tips.
- Here is the real beauty of the plan. We can secretly make all the rules for use and distribution of the funds without telling the donors. We just ask donors which reward fund they want to contribute to.
- Rule #1 – We keep all of the money (see paragraph 1)
- Rule #2 – If there is no conviction within a year, Refer to Rule #1
- Rule #3 – The information and tips come to us. If we have control of all the potentially damaging information and tips that could jeopardize our funds, we can control what and when the information is released. The perpetrators then have time to dispose of evidence, disappear, and even leave the state so the case goes cold. I guess this could potentially restrict some information but no one seems to care. Refer to Rule #1
- Rule #4 – We can set up a Friends of “victim’s name” fund and start siphoning off money early because we are making the rules. Refer to Rule #1
- Make statements the fund is generating “hundreds” of useful leads. We are a bit short handed for processing but please don’t stop donating now.
- If the donations start to peak, notify the media that the victim’s family is visiting the victim so they can release another tearjerker video of the visit. Be certain that the media still has the web site address $$$.rewardfund.com and phone number.
- If any of the reward funds are getting impressive and newsworthy, notify the media again and announce how many leads are being generated. Make certain they still have the address $$$.rewardfund.com and phone number.
- Our funds are really never a risk and now we a raking in the cash but here is another little twist on our side. Make certain that as many details as possible of the crime are exposed to the public to hinder any real investigation.
- We probably don’t need to but it might be a good idea to get cozy with any other investigator(s) to make certain that we have access to any information that might threaten our funds. They probably won’t mind especially in a small community and would prefer the funds to go to a good cause like ours instead of being used on someone’s house or car. If they are at all difficult, we could use some of the money for doughnuts or give them a piece of the action.
If I can get the national news media to cover the stories, I could be wealthy overnight. This model almost sounds too good to be true. I am surprised that more organizations haven’t caught on. Maybe they have but the donors haven’t.
There are only a few potential downsides to this business plan. If the local police start to take their job seriously and demand control of the investigation and start making arrests and convictions. Another potential issue is if donors realize the contributions were never really going to be used for a reward but who is going to tell them? The hidden rules might be questioned so they might form a class action suit to reclaim the funds. The donors could also be difficult if the funds crossed state lines and federal laws about full disclosure violated. I might need to change the name and relocate for a while.
I could name the company Nice People Doing Good Deeds, LLC. Who could resist that? The funds are going to a good cause anyway.
I think this model should be given serious consideration because certain communities agree and approve of the reward fund concept and potential collusion and conflict of interest or they would be making arrests and convicting some obvious crime suspects. The money collected will be spent and taxed there. I could make an offer available to various State Government Agencies or Senators and Congressmen to see if they wanted to participate. They certainly seem to always be interested in creative ways of raising funds. I might need to be careful here because some of them might have a conscience and want to investigate this as a potential scam and pass some stupid laws.
I could also distribute to numerous organizations on social media. If it goes viral, just think of those opportunities.
I am not an attorney and the above is only a hypothetical concept not intended to implicate anyone. I am just seeking input and advice.
We believe that the whole felony investigation has been at minimum ineffective due to either incompetence, potential collusion, indifference, and/or disregard for the community. Even non-professional observers have quickly deduced who the perpetrator(s) were without the massive opportunities for evidence that was available to investigators and the publicly announced “hundreds of leads” generated from a $61,800.00 reward fund. Yet there have been no arrests or charges filed for the worst case of abuse they have ever seen.
Was there ever any real attempt to investigate and prosecute or was growing the reward fund the real goal? If the investigation is delayed, the fund keeps increasing. AGAIN, THIS IS THE WORST CASE OF ABUSE THEY HAVE EVER SEEN AND ALL WE HEAR IS SILENCE. Is the money now the source of a feeding frenzy and a hindrance to the investigation? Something is wrong. This whole affair is very offensive and starting to stink. The funding and lack of investigation needs to be uncovered and exposed to the light of day.
UPDATE: ANOTHER REWARD FUND THAT WILL NOT BE PAID OUT
The Miami Beach Police have already stated that they don’t plan on investigating further