CBC: GoFundMe donations raised for journalist Zack Noureddine withheld from family
Ottawa, ON – It takes a special kind of dirt-bag to defraud a family while they’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
Zack Noureddine, 25, was a contributor at HipHopCanada (as well as other publications) and a friend of our organization. He passed away in Toronto after being assaulted and randomly targeted for robbery by a group of soulless twats. Emergency crews were called to Yonge Street and Lola Road just after midnight on Dec. 30, 2015. When they arrived they found Zack in distress. They got him to the hospital but sadly he passed away a short time thereafter.
By late April 2016, 3 men had been charged with Zack’s death: William Lordhu Cummins, 29, Patrick Smith, 26, and Matthew Moreira, 31, of Toronto were charged with second-degree murder and robbery. At the very least, the Noureddine family could find some comfort in knowing that justice for Zack was in motion.
But just as you think the monster’s responsible for this reprehensible crime are on the path they need to be, another ugly side of the story reveals itself… a despicable but reoccurring slap in the face to victims that seems to go unpunished more often than not.
CBC ran an article today with the headline “Donations for Ottawa homicide victim never handed over, family says,” which explains that the $3,800 raised through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe was never given to Zack’s family.
When the campaign was first created, HipHopCanada promoted the link and quoted the person listed as the campaign’s creator, Peter Coultas of The Goodie Bag, who encouraged donations be made to support Zack’s family in covering the funeral expenses.
“Zack was a talented journalist, a dedicated and visionary entrepreneur, a steward in his community, and a friend who was loved by all. He poured all of himself into his work, and was always looking for ways to better himself and others around him for the good of the craft. A tragedy like this is nearly inconceivable, for a man who had so much ahead of him, so much left to give.”
HipHopCanada could not independently verify that the person listed as campaign’s creator was in fact the person responsible for creating the account.
The San Diego-based GoFundMe confirmed to CBC that a total of $3,550 (GoFundMe deducts 5% from every donation made) was paid to the campaign creator on Feb. 17, but as of today, June 29, Zack’s father still hasn’t seen a penny from the money raised.
“It’s the lowest thing in life. Nothing lower than this,” Noureddine told CBC. “This guy he can take advantage of someone who passed away to raise money on him. That’s very low.”
All-in-all, it’s quite clear that GoFundMe needs to reevaluate their policies.
As part of the quote to CBC, the company stated, “We have a thorough verification process, deploy proprietary technical tools, and a dedicated team that works around the clock to monitor fraudulent behavior.”
However, that doesn’t reflect our own experience with GoFundMe. Here’s a good example:
Several months ago the child of one of our friends suddenly passed away. In an effort to support the family, one of our team members created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the family’s funeral expenses. The campaign was successful and the money was given to the family. However, at no one point did GoFundMe ensure that the campaign was legit, authorized by the family or that the person the campaign was claiming to raise money for even existed.
In this case, those verification tools might not have mattered since GoFundMe has stated that Zack’s father gave the campaign creator “permission to control the funds.”
Adding, “the funds were withdrawn, but unfortunately they were not delivered to Hassan.” The next part of the statement claims they are working with Hassan to ensure he receives the amount raised. It’s unclear how they will go about that.
HipHopCanada is doing everything in our power, and using every resource available to us, to retrieve the donations for the Noureddine family.
Ottawa Police confirmed to CBC that they are investigating, but no charges have been laid.
From left to right: Russell, Hassan, Magida and Rowdan Noureddine display some mementoes of Zack, their son and brother who died after being
attacked and robbed in Toronto | Photo: David Kawai (Ottawa Citizen)
The Zack Noureddine Foundation
The Zack Noureddine Foundation objective is to promote arts entrepreneurship as a key mechanism to avert violence among youth. The foundation is currently using its own fundraising initiatives by selling Zack’s photos to attract influential community partners to establish a community space in Zack’s name. To make a donation by ordering Zack’s photos, click here.
Tags: Zack Noureddine
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