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Sandy Charity Suspected Of Fraud Begins Distributing Funds

An American flag flies in front of the ruins of a home in Mantoloking, N.J. destroyed by Superstorm Sandy - Nov. 21, 2012 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

An American flag flies in front of the ruins of a home in Mantoloking, N.J. destroyed by Superstorm Sandy – Nov. 21, 2012 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A charity that was suspected of fraud has begun to distribute Superstorm Sandy funds more than a year after the storm and nearly a year after a settlement with New Jersey prosecutors.

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, an unregistered charitable organization, handed out $225,000 to four charitable organizations in New Jersey and one in New York.

The organizations were selected based on their proposals to use the money to help Sandy victims based on how the money was solicited, New Jersey’s attorney general said.

An additional $100,000 is under review for distribution in the near future.

The lawsuit filed in February 2013 by the Division of Consumer Affairs said John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino, of Sparta N.J., transferred $13,000 in donations to personal bank accounts.

Officials alleged the couple paid as much as $4,500 to retail stores, restaurants, supermarkets and a home heating oil delivery service. The lawsuit said $8,000 was also paid to a credit card company for personal expenses.

The lawsuit alleged that by January 2013, the charity had raised $631,000 but had issued only $1,650 in gift cards to aid Sandy victims.

The state reached a settlement in June.

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