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Indianapolis charity loses hundreds in donations after receiving counterfeit money

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By Eric Levy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 15, 2014) -- A local charity learns the hard way the difference between real money and fake money.

The Mozel Sanders Foundation was raising funds at Lafayette Square Mall, Saturday, to help feed hungry people on Thanksgiving, and were cheated out of nearly $200 thanks to counterfeit money. The money that was lost was enough to feed dozens of hungry people.

Around the holidays, giving to charities is what many people do. It's also the time when groups, like the Mozel Sanders Foundation, feed the hungry just like they have for more than 40 years. They use donations from people like Lisa Pierce.

"I've always been for the cause because I grew up in that church and I've known the people and I know the family so it's been something I've always done," Pierce said.

The fundraising efforts are tiring, but they yield some great results. This year, however, some people stole some of that money.

"First they came up with a $50 bill which was counterfeit. Then, once they thought that they can exchange money, they came back with a $50 bill and then they came back with $20's," said Chandra Ware-Brown with the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

That means the charity is out $160 which was what would have fed 36 hungry people.

"Shame on them, really, because that took away from the people that really needed it," Ware-Brown said.

President and CEO of the Mozel Sanders Foundation, Stephanie Sanders-Young, says they hope this has never happened to them. They called the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and a police report was filed. They were also given a flier explaining how to spot counterfeit money, because unfortunately it is out there. Checking the validity of a person's donation is something they never expected to do, but it's reality now.

"I hope no one will be offended, but now we have to check. We will have to get the marker, we'll have to look at it just like we're at the bank," Sanders-Young said.

Sanders-Young said other charities should be vigilant and double check just to be safe since this kind of thing is happening.

To learn more about the Mozel Sanders Foundation, visit http://www.mozelsanders.org.