LOWELL, Mass. — Authorities said a man ran a charitable donation scam for three years, receiving approximately $76,000 in money intended for charities falsely represented to support cancer patients, firefighters, wounded veterans and other causes, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office said.
Zachary Noonan, 25, of Lowell, was arraigned Friday on three counts of larceny over $250.
Prosecutors said Noonan allegedly worked for an advertising company from 2012 to 2015, soliciting money and selling advertising space to benefit nonprofits.
When Noonan stopped working at the company, he allegedly kept his contacts list, which included individuals and businesses that had previously donated money or purchased advertising space to benefit those organizations.
The District Attorney’s Office said Noonan used that contact information to solicit donations for false charities that he set up to intentionally sound like legitimate charity organizations. These included “The Jimmy Fund for Kids,” “Volunteer Fireman,” “New England Wounded Veterans,” “New England Hunger Assoc.” and “Northeast Amateur Athletic Union.”
The fraud was allegedly uncovered by Woburn Police in February when one of the victims, who had made a $100 donation to “The Volunteer Fireman” attempted to contact the organization through a website and phone number allegedly provided by the defendant. The victim discovered that the phone number was disconnected and there was actually no website.
According to prosecutors, over three years, Noonan deposited a total of nearly $76,000 in donations intended for charitable purposes.
Noonan was arrested Thursday and held on $100 cash bail. The next scheduled hearing in the case was set for October 25.