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Old 08-10-2006, 04:43 PM   #1
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Sad news

Recently one of our members posted a message to our members asking them for help in setting up a tank for a boy that had "Downs Syndrome", The original post was not asking for donations, simply asking for 2 dollars over shipping for plants and therefore did not violate our "No Soliciting" policy, as the member was a "member in good standing" with 500 or so posts and lots of positive feedback in the "for sale/trade" forums our members showed their support. As you might expect, the outpouring of sympathy and donations of equipment and money from the rest of the member base was overwhelming. You guys did good, I was so proud of our members for rising to the occasion and giving for someone they had never met, nor would ever meet. It's that kind of charity and humanitarianism that gives this world hope for the future.

When it was posted earlier this week that the boy had been hospitalized, the sympathy from our members was another sign of their awesome character. Through the thread members began feeling they knew this little boy, they became emotionally invested in this project for this little boy.

Just a day after we were informed of this boy's hospitalization, the boy's "mother" joined and wrote a thank you note to our members and informed us the boy had died in surgery. Again, I was stunned by the outpouring support for this "woman", and again you should be proud of yourselves for the sympathy and generosity you showed to a complete stranger.

However, for more cynical members, such as myself, and members that have been "burned" by con men before red flags were popping up all over the place. Earlier today we received a "concerned PM" illustrating some of the inconsistencies.

The "Mother's" writing style was identical to the Original Posters, the misspelled words were the same as was misspelled by the OP. Upon investigation we found that the "Mother's" sign up email address was actually that of the OP. With all the circumstantial evidence from the posts, I dug a little deeper, looking through the obituaries in the area the member was from, I could find no notice of death, nor notice of funeral services for this boy. I can't help but wonder if the next post would have been to tell us how the boy's family could not afford to pay for his funeral, etc....

For those of you involved, the thread has been locked and moved from public view, and the member has been banned. What is the most dis-heartening to me is that some people that gave equipment or money, or even just gave emotional support will become jaded. They will "never be taken like that again"! While I certainly understand where they are coming from I hope this experience will not prevent them from helping thos less fortunate than them in the future. You will, deservedly, feel some form of animosity towards the member that duped us, but you should be proud of what you did. You showed tremendous generosity and sympathy for someone you believed to be in need, that's nothing to be ashamed of, it's something you can feel good about.


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Old 08-10-2006, 07:47 PM   #2
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I'm really sorry this happened and that good people got burned. Thanks to the moderators and all those who work to make AA safe.

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Old 08-10-2006, 07:58 PM   #3
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However, for more cynical members, such as myself,
To be honest, myself included. After stating I would help if i could, as you said, inconsistencies starting showing.
To those who did help, you intentially and theoretically did a GREAT thing. I have the upmost respect for these people and those who offered kind words to the situation.
Please don't let it deter you from helping in these situations in the future.

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Old 08-10-2006, 08:30 PM   #4
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I still respect everyone that helped like it was real...because to them..IT WAS...this is such bs... I knew something wasn't right after I read the "mother's" post...AA is filled with awesome people and we saw it first hand...don't let a low life like weasel bring any of you down.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #5
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I also believe that the people that helped were sincere and really thought they were helping someone out. They were kind enough to donate things. I personally thought something was up with it and even if I had something to give, I wouldn't have given it. I just had a feeling about it. I hoped I was wrong though.

I'm sorry that people were misled and I also want to thank the mods for investigating and doing their best to keep us safe. Thanks guys!
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:19 PM   #6
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You know that is just SAD people like that is why we are today. Always doubting or questioning everyones motives. and it should not be that way. Just a few weeks ago I was able to help a single mother with 2 children out with their school supplies. I dont know anything about this woman, she was a coworker with my mother and I had asked my mother if she knew anyone that needed school supplies because I had bought extra for my girls got home and realized that I had bought way too much. Anyway I found out that she was having a real hard time so me and my 3 girls went shopping. We bought them everything that they needed for school. My oldest daughter asked me "Mom how do we know that they really need help" I told her You know what all we can do is believe that they do and God knows that we are doing for the right reasons. If they don't really need it then they will have to deal with him. And that is the best thing that I can say to the people that helped this person on this site. Just know that not everyone is like that. Please dont let your hearts go cold because this world needs more people like you.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:30 AM   #7
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I have read this thread a million times and I'm still sick. I can't believe this happened. The stuff that I donated was not needed by me, but I still feel like crap. I do have one question though, what about the members that were unnamed that gave $5000 and the other members that raised other money and the donated car? Are they going to try to get their money back? I'm just heart sick.

I actually talked to the OP in question on the phone when I decided to trade my platies for some of his Apistos (still haven't received) He seemed "on the level". I'm just in shock. I do have his phone number. I've thought about calling him and asking him what the ___ he thought he was doing and why he took advantage of such nice people. If need be I can contact this dumb ____ and try to help get some stuff back. Just let me know.

I'm still sick about this, but I'm pretty trusting......lesson learned.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:08 AM   #8
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after i read the post by the "mother" of the boy i knew it was a dupe. i was disappointed by the member, but still uplifted by the kindness shown by the members of the forum. my skeptic also went on red alert, which is why i only offered a DIY filter. i figured i would not lose much for that.

it is my nature to want to help people. and i am a sucker for kids.

I had a feeling pretty quick though that something was "fishy" (no pun really intended, but hey... I couldn't resist).

I want to know why. And I want to know if the people who sent money and cars have a law suit and if you can do anything to help them.
Old 08-11-2006, 10:10 AM   #9
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I didn't want to sound "mean" or "nasty" myself, but as I read that, and other posts by the OP I thought something sounded "fishy". My coworker and I read the posts, and he had horrible grammar in the posts about the downs syndrome boy, yet had much improved grammar in other posts. The mother had similar bad grammar, I believe even the same words were mispelled (though I could be wrong on that, and I'm too lazy to verify). I do recall him saying that he lived paycheck to paycheck, and that's unfortunate if that is the case. But I also saw a post of him buying miscellaneous products (ie wall posters) that are quite unneccessary. I feel bad for people that cannot make ends meet, and bust their @sses trying to do so. But people that dont have money, and spend what they do have on things they don't need (espcially cigarettes) just aggrivates me to no end.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:45 AM   #10
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I want to know why. And I want to know if the people who sent money and cars have a law suit and if you can do anything to help them.
Why....because he is a scumbag that preys on good peoples kindness.

I honestly do not believe there was anyone that donated that much money, nor a car. I could be wrong, and if I am I would like for those members to contact me privately so we can give them what information we have on this guy. I believe weasel was simply making it up for a couple of reasons;
1) To show how hard the family had it, mark could no longer fly to houston, the family was poor, etc. It was his way of turning a simple tank project (that was over and done with) into a longer running scam.
2) To induce a sort of humanitarian bidding war. To spark the competitive streak in some that would encourge them to donate more than the next guy.


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