Fire victim scammed out of donations by ex-boyfriend
Wed, 07 Sep 2011 04:22:01 GMT —
The sight of her children brings Crystal Echartea to tears, but instead of holding them, she's forced to look at them through a computer screen, in a hotel lobby.
"I lost it all in one week, my kids, my boyfriend, my house," she said.
It started when her then boyfriend, Jose Galindo, struck her during an argument.
Immediately after, Child Protective Services removed their four children, and she decided to end the relationship with Galindo.
But her latest blow happened over the weekend when her apartment complex burned down, leaving Crystal with nothing.
"This is all I have -- my purse, a blanket and a blue folder with important documents" she said.
While other people affected could turn to the Red Cross for help, when she tried, she made a startling discovery.
Her ex-boyfriend, Galindo, had taken all the help she was entitled to as a way to get back at her.
"I can TMt believe it, it makes me mad but it breaks my heart also," Echartea said, among sobs.
He fraudulently walked away with a hotel voucher and a card worth more than $600, donated by the Red Cross, she added.
An account statement shows Galindo spent all the money on clothes, shoes and food, at a time when Echartea only had the clothes on her back, and an uncertain future.
"I TMm a mom, " she said. I think about the future and if I don TMt have anywhere to go, obviously my kids have no future.
Her housing voucher expires Wednesday.
With limited options, she is unsure where to turn for help, her only consolation, "I'm happy my kids are not here to see me bounce from place to place and suffering, because in the end it TMs my kids that suffer."
But that comfort does little to ease her pain from having lost everything.
As she sits looking at pictures, she hopes for a miracle wishing for a reunion win her children.