A Tennessee man accused of soliciting donations for the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and using the money for personal gain has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Robert Terry Bruce, 34, of Nashville, could face a sentence of up to 120 years in prison if convicted.
He was indicted Tuesday on charges that he defrauded donors from around the country, including in Connecticut, who thought they were helping to raise money for Sandy Hook but in reality were paying to support Bruce’s personal training business, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
According to federal prosecutors, Bruce set up the 26.4.26 Foundation in the wake of the December 2012 shootings and hosted two athletic charity events in early 2013.
He solicited contributions through a PayPal account and told supporters the “Schools 4 Schools run” and “CrossFit Cares” event were designed “to help raise funds for increased school safety, families of victims, memorials to teacher heroes, awareness and prevention in schools across America.” the U.S. attorney's office said.
Bruce told donors all proceeds would benefit the 26.4.26 Foundation, but in reality, he used most of the money to cover personal expenses and bolster his personal training business, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Several donors who fell victim to the scam are from Connecticut.
The allegations came to light over the summer when 26.4.26 co-founder Ryan Graney told the Associated Press that only $30,000 of the $103,000 raised had been used for the true purpose of the organization.
Bruce was arrested Feb. 13 and indicted Tuesday. He’ll be arraigned in Hartford on Monday, Feb. 23 and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted, according to federal prosecutors.