Families Allege Fraud in Crash Donations

Family members of two of the six teens that died in a car crash last month in Warren have filed a fraud report alleging the funds donated by the community have been misused by a Warren council member.

It’s been more than a month since the six teens were killed. At the time of the tragedy, Council President Bob Dean helped organize a fund at Huntington Bank so people could donate to help with funeral costs. Nearly $61,000 was donated.

The funeral expenses of the victims were paid and a little more in donations came in after the disbursement.  The balance sits at a $15,030.39, which is the money in question. Dean said a person who is not related to the family wants it.

“That person, as we all know is out on $25,000 bond, is not a family member,” said Dean.

Dean said two families are now asking for the  remaining money.

Pastor Phillip Shealey, who presided over two of the funerals, said a family member contacted him. He said the family member “saw the money as their own.”

“And it was almost like the words that I was giving her was totally overlooked because she was focused one thing,” said Shealey.

The family member in question declined to comment.

A police report claiming fraud was filed, and the issue was turned over to the state Attorney General’s office.

“On Saturday, I met with Brian Mooney from the Attorney General’s Office. (We) walked through every cancelled check, walked through every detail of what happened from the time of the death right up until the last bank deposit,” said Dean.

Dean said the Attorney General’s Office recommended setting up a 501 (C)3 group, similar to what Chardon did after last year’s school shootings. Dean said he accepted the  recommendation and is talking with an organization to transfer the remaining funds and two outstanding debts.

“There in one Pinveview (Cemetery) which is a little over $13,000, and there’s a second for grave markers, which is a little more than $4,000,” Dean said.

Dean added there is not an ongoing investigation and any accusations are political.

Warren Councilman Eddie Colbert, 7th Ward, said Dean should step down until the issue is settled. However, Colbert said that opinion is his alone and is not the opinion of council as a whole.

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