Local News

L.I. man accused of Make-A-Wish Foundation theft

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A father on Long Island is accused of stealing from a charity that helps make the dreams of dying children come true.

The man's son is even a recipient of the Make-A-Wish foundation.

It's a charity that brings smiles to the faces of dying children. And makes their wishes come true.

"We don't do background checks on our families. They come to us, their child is seriously ill, we grant the wish," said Karine Hollander, with Make-A-Wish foundation.

For the first time in the charity's 27 years, Suffolk County police say a repeat scam artist took advantage of the foundation, after it shelled out big bucks to help his own teenaged son.

"It's a pretty, pretty low thing to do. You really can't put words to somebody who would do something like that," said Sgt. Dan Molloy.

Police say Robert Skinner's son has a serious illness, and wanted to go surfing in Hawaii. So the charity paid more than $10,000 to send the whole family to the Aloha state, even cutting a check for spending cash.

But police say Skinner used the information on that check, to pay his $1,500 cell phone bill.

Police say when they arrested him in his car Tuesday, he was high on prescription pills, and was carrying a stolen driver's license and a handicapped parking permit that didn't belong to him. And a forged parks permit.

According to every neighbor of Skinner's that Eyewitness News found, he had it coming. They say they're tired of loud parties and frequent police calls to the Skinner home. In fact, detectives confirm members of the family have been in trouble before.

As police took Skinner to court for his arraignment this morning, he claimed he had developed chest pains, and they took him to the hospital instead. In the meantime, the Make-A-Wish foundation is missing even more money.

Investigators are looking into whether skinner stole that too.

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