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Two women indicted in Fort Edward fire fund thefts

2011-04-25T16:02:00Z 2011-04-25T17:11:13Z Two women indicted in Fort Edward fire fund theftsDON LEHMAN -- dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
April 25, 2011 4:02 pm  • 

Two women have been indicted on multiple felony charges for allegedly stealing more than $7,000 from a fund set up to aid the victims of a fire in Fort Edward that killed six children last year and creating fake receipts to hide the theft.

Tina Goodell, 41, of Hudson Falls, and Robin Renaud, formerly of Hudson Falls, each face felony counts of third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, as well as misdemeanor counts of conspiracy, court records show.

Renaud also faces a felony count of intimidating a witness, though it was unclear Monday why that charge was filed.

The women are accused of taking $7,439 from the fund that was set up to aid the Smith and Cox families after six of their children died in a fire on June 26 in their Burgoyne Avenue home. Renaud had started the fund to help the survivors of the fire, and Goodell helped her as they organized several events. The biggest was a spaghetti dinner that brought in $35,000 that was used to defray funeral expenses.

Renaud said last summer that she believed as much as $100,000 was taken during the various fundraisers for the families, only some of which she was involved in.

Goodell pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Monday and was released on her own recognizance.

Renaud has not been arraigned. She moved to North Carolina late last year, and her lawyer, Tucker Stanclift, said she is to appear in Washington County Court for arraignment Friday morning.

Court records show the women are accused of providing three falsified receipts that indicated $4,500 of the money was paid to the Fort Edward Fire Department, a disc jockey for a July 18 fundraiser and to purchase cakes.

State Police Investigator Jeff Horn is quoted in court records as telling Goodell there was a math error on one of the receipts, but Goodell is quoted as telling him that she was not concerned about the discrepancy.

Both Stanclift and Goodell's lawyer, Christian Morris, said their clients did not steal any money or break any laws.

"I think this is a thin case. They don't have all their facts," Morris said.

"Let's prosecute soccer moms for doing a good thing in Washington County," Stanclift said.

State Police began investigating the case last summer, after lawyers Michael Martin and Trinidad Martin - hired by the deceased children's parents, Lewis "Carl" Smith and Samantha Cox - noticed discrepancies in the bank account Renaud had set up to manage the money, officials said.

Michael Martin said the family was saddened by the theft at a time when they were trying to get back on their feet. They had hoped to build a new home with the aid of the money donated by well-wishers but have been unable to do so, he said.

"It just makes it more of a tragedy," Martin said. "They were at the lowest point of their existence, and someone took advantage of them."

The weightiest charge, third-degree grand larceny, is punishable by up to 7 years in state prison.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(29) Comments

  1. luckysixes
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    luckysixes - May 02, 2011 9:26 pm
    BooBooKittyF said: "I hope everyone defending these people will come back if (when) they are found guilty and apologize."

    And when these ladies are found "INNOCENT" will they make a public apology to them! You have no idea what these women did for this family or should I say for those ANGELS! At least those Angels are proud of these ladies for doing something so grateful! They have a home on the land over there why don't they tell the public that the women helped them get that too? Everyone only wants to see these women as being selfish and the only selfish thing they did was taking time away from their families day after day to put this benefit together for this family!
  2. BooBooKittyF
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    BooBooKittyF - May 02, 2011 7:23 am
    I hope everyone defending these people will come back if (when) they are found guilty and apologize.
  3. vollyff4life
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    vollyff4life - May 01, 2011 6:49 pm
    please only refer to the third comment i made on April 30, 2011, 1:18 am, i rewrote my comment 3 times and was not awware that it had accepted them all. the first 2 have comments i did not mean to post, and i apologize for those who may be offended, it's hard to see a community in shambles and not speak your mind. unfortunetly, not everyone accepts opinions.
  4. vollyff4life
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    vollyff4life - April 30, 2011 1:18 am
    WOW REALLY? I BELIEVE IT'S "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY", DON'T WE ALL AGREE? NOW WHERE DOES SOMEONE COME OFF GOING AFTER THOSE WHO BUSTED THEIR TAILS TO GIVE VICTIMS A MORE SOLID GROUND TO RECOVER ON? I THINK IF THESE 2 WONDERFUL LADIES ARE BEING LOOKED AT OVER MONEY THEY "SUPPOSEDLY" TOOK FOR THEMSELVE'S, THEN THESE TWO PARENTS RECIEVING ROUGHLY 100,000 DOLLARS SHOULD HAVE TO PROVE DOWN TO THE LAST CENT WHAT THEY SPENT THESE DONATIONS ON. IF ITS WAS ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT IT WAS MEANT FOR, THEN THEY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED JUST AS RESPONSIBLE FOR STEALING DONATIONS FOR REASON'S THEY WERE NOT MEANT FOR....BUT IT'S ONLY MY OPINION.
  5. vollyff4life
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    vollyff4life - April 30, 2011 1:12 am
    OK TO THE FOLKS WHOS PUT THE BENEFITS TOGETHER, TO THOSE WHO DONATED IN ANY WAY, THANK YOU FOR BEING HUMAN. SOME WHO TALK ALOT OF TRASH ON HERE DID NOTHING AT ALL. LAST TIME I CHECKED IT WAS "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY", AM I THE ONLY ONE SEEING THAT. FIRST OFF AS A PARENT, I DONT EVEN KNOW HOW THESE PARENTS ARE STILL LIVING WITH THEMSELVES. NOW IM NOT SAYING ANYONE WAS AT FAULT BUT IM SORRY TO SAY ID NEVER LEAVE MY BABY IN THE BED I JUMPED OUT OF JUST TO SAVE MY OWN SKIN. AND I WOULDA TOLD MY KIDS TO JUMP AND ID CATCH THEM, ANYTHING WOULDA BEEN BETTER THAN NOTHING. OK IM SORRY IF THIS SOUNDS HARSH, BUT CHILDREN COME FIRST, SO IF MY KIDS DIDNT MAKE IT, I WOULDA DIED TRYIN. NOW AS FAR AS 100,000 DOLLARS, ID LOVE TO KNOW WHERE IT WENT. REBUILDING YOUR LIVES AS BEST YOU CAN, OR A FRIGGIN CARREBIAN GET-A-WAY. THESE 2 COURAGES LADIES BUSTED THEIR BUTTS TO MAKE SURE THIS FAMILY HAD GROUND TO STAND ON WHEN THEY GOT BACK ON THEIR FEET TO RECOVERY, SO WHO DO THESE TWO PARENTS THINK THEY ARE?
  6. vollyff4life
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    vollyff4life - April 30, 2011 1:02 am
    OK FIRST OF ALL, FOR THOSE WHO HELPED RAISE CLOSE TO 100K OR MORE FOR THIS FAMILY, GOD BLESS YOU ALL, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO DONATED IN ANY WAY. IF I LOST 1 CHILD INSTEAD OF 6, MY LAST THOUGHT WOULD BE TO GO AFTER SOMEONE WHO DID ALL THAT FOR ME, BEING THE FACT THAT I KNOW LITTLE ABOUT THE FIRE CONDITIONS, OR THE SHAPE OF THE HOUSE I CANT GIVE AN OPINION ON WHETHER THE PARENTS WERE ABLE TO GET TO THE CHILDREN ON THE SECOND FLOOR, HOWEVER, HOW DO YOU RUN OUT OF A HOUSE LEAVING YOUR CHILD ON THE BED TO DIE WHEN U WERE RIGHT THERE. SOMETHING DONT SOUND RIGHT HERE. NOW 100,000 DOLLARS WOULD GO A LONG WAYS WHEN UVE LOST EVERYTHING, BUT HEY LETS PROSECUTE SOMEONE FOR MORE MONEY. MOST WOULD AGREE WITH ME THAT ANY DECENT PARENT WOULD HAVE DIED BEFORE GIVING UP ON THEIR KIDS. BUT HEY, LETS ALL WORRY ABOUT THE MONEY USING 6 INNOCENT SOULS AS THE PAWN....GET A LIFE.
  7. jojo1103
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    jojo1103 - April 29, 2011 7:47 am
    Really? because i got the same impression BooBoo did.Jonny said: "I haven't seen where anyone said or conveyed that. It sounds like you are the only one with information regarding knowledge of fraud. I remember thinking what a bad idea it was when I heard these women were trying to help this "family". I don't believe for a minute either one of them knowingly committed fraud. I do believe the only victims in this case are currently charged with a crime. I hope justice prevails and the guilty get their just dues."

  8. noneya8
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    noneya8 - April 27, 2011 10:13 pm
    Jonny said: "I haven't seen where anyone said or conveyed that. It sounds like you are the only one with information regarding knowledge of fraud. I remember thinking what a bad idea it was when I heard these women were trying to help this "family". I don't believe for a minute either one of them knowingly committed fraud. I do believe the only victims in this case are currently charged with a crime. I hope justice prevails and the guilty get their just dues." I 100% agree. I do not think anything malicious was done by these two women. Being a person who spent the day at that spaghetti dinner volunteering my time, being so touched by what these women were doing for this family. If anyone could have seen for themselves the work these women were doing for total strangers, the time they put in. Why do all of that for $7,000? I know people have done more for less but not these people. I am sure of it. Their hearts were in the right place.
  9. luckysixes
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    luckysixes - April 27, 2011 9:34 pm
    How come everyone is talking about a home for these people? They had a home delivered to the property of Carls mothers house last year!!! These women busted their butts for this benefit that only planned on 300-400 people coming and it turned out to be over 1000+ people showed up, they spent so much time making this right, spending money out of their own pockets, running around every day for two weeks and making 100's of phone calls and everyone wants to say GUILTY! Come on people who else would have stood up for these people and did what these ladies did? They paid off the funeral home, plots that werent donated, and a headstone that Carl and Sam designed themselves. Why should they be punished for doing what they set out to do? Take away the expense this family would have had to endure if it werent for them!
  10. Jonny
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    Jonny - April 27, 2011 4:07 pm
    BooBooKittyF said: "I love the attitude here: "It's ok to steal money from the parents of dead children, as long as you give most of it to them.""

    I haven't seen where anyone said or conveyed that. It sounds like you are the only one with information regarding knowledge of fraud. I remember thinking what a bad idea it was when I heard these women were trying to help this "family". I don't believe for a minute either one of them knowingly committed fraud. I do believe the only victims in this case are currently charged with a crime. I hope justice prevails and the guilty get their just dues.

  11. annasgramp
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    annasgramp - April 27, 2011 2:41 pm
    Hey Folks, What do you say we just let the Judicial system make the determination of guilt or innocence. Must be a lot of glass houses out there!! Just sayin
  12. DWC121
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    DWC121 - April 27, 2011 10:34 am
    BooBooKittyF - I didn't mean "time" in the sense of people offering their time to put on a dinner so others could offer a financial donation.

    I meant time as in offering time to physically build a house, sort through refuse or cart it to the landfile, shuttle the homeowner's family to appointments, etc. Donating materials meant donating building supplies if someone is actually doing the home construction work (or bringing food/drinks/lunch to the construction workers). It does not mean donating materials such as food, paper products, tableware, etc that will be used to raise cash.
  13. BooBooKittyF
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    BooBooKittyF - April 27, 2011 7:19 am
    I love the attitude here: "It's ok to steal money from the parents of dead children, as long as you give most of it to them."
  14. BooBooKittyF
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    BooBooKittyF - April 27, 2011 7:17 am
    DWC121 said: "Define "rebuild their lives".This is a fine example of why I will NOT donate _money_ to _any_ cause. I will, and do, donate useable materialistic things and my time. "

    Yeah, except in this case donations of time and skill were also claimed as "expenses." There was really no way to get around the fraud in this case.
  15. chipmunkjo
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    chipmunkjo - April 27, 2011 4:08 am
    having known tina goodell and her family for over fifteen years, i can unreservedly tell you she had nothing whatever to do with this theft, and i can say that having not spoken to her any time recently. she is the most caring, kind, helpful person on earth, and i am confident it will be resolved as nothing more than at best an accounting error in posting, or at worst, a crime of someone else involved. i do not know the other woman, so i cannot comment about her. but i know tina and she is not a thief. it would never occur to her to take what was not hers, and especially from someone like a fire victim. mark my words, she didnt do this. the sad part is that now that she had been accused, there will always be people who will think she did. when she is exonerated, i expect the same front page headline from this paper that her accusation got. i am watching you, post star. hang in there, tina!!! we got your back.
  16. Corinth-Res
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    Corinth-Res - April 27, 2011 12:27 am
    I actually feel sorry for the lawyers representing the Smith/Cox families... You will probably be brought to court next for stealing there "DONATED" money....
  17. simp1968
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    simp1968 - April 26, 2011 9:25 pm
    So,Renaud said last summer that she believed as much as $100,000 was taken during the various fundraisers for the families, only some of which she was involved in and $35,000 that was used to defray funeral expenses.
    Michael Martin said the family was saddened by the theft at a time when they were trying to get back on their feet. They had hoped to build a new home with the aid of the money donated by well-wishers but have been unable to do so, he said.
    OK, so $100,000 was raised and it took $35,000 to defray funeral costs, and supposedly, $7500 is missing, and that leaves $57,500. So it takes more than that to get back on their feet??? Boy, they must be living high and mighty. You put a down payment of $30,000 on a house and you are still left with $27,500. Umm, I dont get it. How come they were unable to do this?? Explain this to me because I dont get it!!
    I could do it with no problem and even have enough money left to get myself groceries and a car?? I just dont get it!!
  18. tony
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    tony - April 26, 2011 12:36 pm
    tabby19889 said: "Where does it say they were found guilty?"

    Where did I say anyone was found guilty??? I'm not saying anyone in this case is guilty or innocent. Only that you can't look at someone's past innocence and family situation to determine whether they're now guilty or not.

  19. DWC121
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    DWC121 - April 26, 2011 11:03 am
    Doubter_2 said: "So I guess you know the money has been used to rebuild their lives ??? I do hope you are right. Early reports were not to encouraging. BTW Scandals like this should encourage all of us to donate only to recognized charities like the Red Cross. "

    Define "rebuild their lives".

    This is a fine example of why I will NOT donate _money_ to _any_ cause. I will, and do, donate useable materialistic things and my time.
  20. common sense
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    common sense - April 26, 2011 9:15 am
    I like how it was printed lawyers of the deceased six childrens parents, Smith - Cox noticed discrepencies. I
    wonder is that the post star or the lawyers quote ?
    To me it seems like you are playing on the memories of the
    children instead of the facts. Remember only the lawyers will
    win in this case. And to gfdann yes it is a legitiment
    question about the rest of the money due to the fact they collected close to $100,000 and they can't move on because
    of $7,000 come on. Instead of moving on they want to ruin
    other families instead of thanking them.
  21. tabby19889
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    tabby19889 - April 26, 2011 6:48 am
    All people are honest and caring until they do something illegal and are found guilty. Most of them have families too. What's your point?


    Where does it say they were found guilty? the only thing they have against tina is that someone signed a false statement. and the family did NOT use the money to rebuild their lifes. i think the poststar needs to put the truth next time
  22. noneya8
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    noneya8 - April 25, 2011 11:15 pm
    You ate awfully naive if you think all people are honest and caring, some people are born liars and crooks. I know the facts not just ways published in the local newspaper. This whole case is a waste of time. Soon enough everyone will know the same truth that I know. Oh and I wouldn't be so quick to throw around the word "guilty" that is still yet to be determined in court. I wouldn't want you to feel silly for saying such rubbish when this is all over:)
  23. tony
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    tony - April 25, 2011 10:23 pm
    noneya8 said: "I am sorry for what happened to these people no one should ha e to bury any of their children let alone six. But accusing honest caring people of such major crimes is outrageous. These women have families too and this could ruin their lives. I am personally afraid to do charity in this area anymore if these are the repercussions. I'll stick to the red cross blood drives."

    All people are honest and caring until they do something illegal and are found guilty. Most of them have families too. What's your point?

  24. noneya8
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    noneya8 - April 25, 2011 9:35 pm
    I am sorry for what happened to these people no one should ha e to bury any of their children let alone six. But accusing honest caring people of such major crimes is outrageous. These women have families too and this could ruin their lives. I am personally afraid to do charity in this area anymore if these are the repercussions. I'll stick to the red cross blood drives.
  25. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - April 25, 2011 8:13 pm
    Quote: "none of our business what this family does with the money that was donated..."
    So I guess you know the money has been used to rebuild their lives ??? I do hope you are right. Early reports were not to encouraging. BTW Scandals like this should encourage all of us to donate only to recognized charities like the Red Cross.
  26. gfdann
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    gfdann - April 25, 2011 7:22 pm
    It's really none of our business what this family does with the money that was donated to them. They lost their children and all of their material possessions. Obviously you cannot replace those beautiful children, and people who donated money (including myself) gave money to help them rebuild their lives.
  27. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - April 25, 2011 5:45 pm
    Since we are now after the people who tried to help... how about we investigate how the family has used the money they did receive!
  28. WhatAWorld
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    WhatAWorld - April 25, 2011 5:32 pm
    Your children are gone and you worried about $7500. That would be the last of my concerns.
  29. swankodaddy
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    swankodaddy - April 25, 2011 4:20 pm
    Tucker Stanclift, Tucker Stanclift, Tucker Stanclift !!!

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