Police arrest alleged donation jar schemer

FORT ANN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A man has been arrested for placing jars labeled for the National Children’s Cancer Society at multiple local businesses.

Police say the jars look legitimate, but Deran Akullian Jr., of Saratoga Springs, kept most of the money for himself.

Richard Heath felt good to have a donation jar at his restaurant, R&B Country Diner, in Whitehall. It sat on the register counter since last summer when Akullian Jr. asked if he could keep one there.

Heath said he wasn’t going to turn him away.

“We’re here to help,” he said.

Akullian Jr. would come in every now and then to take the money and send it off to the charity. But now, Heath said the man was keeping it all for himself.

“It makes me sick that somebody would do that,” Heath said. “They don’t have any conscience enough to, you know, see that he’s doing wrong.”

New York State Police said the 59-year-old was collecting money for the society for four years from hundreds of businesses in Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. He only made payments to the charity during the first year.

Akullian Jr. was charged with felony scheming to defraud. He was arraigned and sent to the Washington County Jail for lack of bail.

Heath said Akullian Jr. had no right to keep the money.

“That’s money that’s meant for kids with cancer that are fighting for their life,” he said.

Now, he said he will be extra careful next time someone comes in asking to place a collection jar in his restaurant.

“Any donation boxes that are set up here will be checked out,” he said.

Heath is happy Akullian Jr. was arrested.

“I hope he goes away for a long time, so he has a long time to think about it,” he said.

The incident remains under investigation.

New York State Police would like to hear from any businesses that may have been approached. Call troopers at (518) 642-0599 or (518) 642-9455.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s