Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 --- 5:55p.m.
MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wishes to inform the public of the possibility that some individuals may be improperly raising funds and soliciting contributions in the aftermath of the September 7, 2012 house fire in Argyle, Wisconsin that took the lives of three children Allen, Jeffrey and Joseph Wand, and severely injured their mother Sharon Wand. Sharon’s 2 year-old daughter, Jessica, also survived the fire.
Regarding the possibility of fraudulent or illegal fundraising activities, Leesa Bobak, Sharon Wand’s aunt, has issued the following statement: “The family of Sharon and Jessica Wand is grateful to all of those who have shown their support during this difficult time. If anyone wishes to make a donation, we would ask that they donate to the Wand Children Benefit Fund, c/o Talmer Bank & Trust, 101 7 1/2 St., Monroe, WI 53566. The Wand Children Benefit Fund is not collecting money over the Internet, door-to-door, or through other direct solicitations. Donation canisters specifically mentioning the Wand Children Benefit Fund were used briefly by the Fund, but have been discontinued to avoid confusion, and are no longer in use. At this point, we cannot guarantee that donations though any source other than the Wand Children Benefit Fund will go to meet the needs of Sharon and Jessica.”
Attorney General Van Hollen, also commented: “When tragedy occurs, well-meaning people want to help. Unfortunately, others know this and will sometimes try to exploit their generosity. People who want to help should make sure that they know where their money is going and that it will help the people they want to help. Donating money to a fund held by a bank can help ensure that the funds will be used for their proper purpose.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General Van Hollen announced that criminal charges were filed against Armin J. Wand III and his brother Jeremy L. Wand in connection with the fire.
A defendant enjoys the presumption of innocence. The charges found in the criminal complaint are merely allegations until and unless the prosecution proves its allegations at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.