PHOENIX - What a difference one letter can make. Type in b-u-i-l-d-t and get directed to www.buildtheborderfence.com. That is the state’s fundraising website aiming to finish the fence between Arizona and Mexico.
But type in b-u-i-l-d-a and you get directed to www.buildaborderfence.com, a site that is also taking donations but is in no way affiliated with the state.
“I did it to promote the need for the Arizona border fence I’m tired of illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans especially when unemployment is 9.2 percent,” said Charles Chinchuck.
He is a taxi cab driver from Las Vegas who within 24 hours of hearing about Arizona’s fundraising website launched a very similar one of his own.
“When I heard about it I said that’s a good idea and looked to see if I could find a website similar so I could be found.”
Cinchuck says this was not a scam and he was not trying to trick anyone. “I don’t have the Arizona state logo, I didn’t mention Arizona anywhere on my website and my address is in Las Vegas.”
He says his website was set up as a promotion for Arizona not as competition for it. Still two checks, one for $25 and one for $100 have already been sent to the Las Vegas address.
“I was going to use the money to offset my expenses and any money beyond that I was planning on sending to buildtheborderfence.com,” said Chinchuck.
As of Thursday afternoon, Chinchick’s website had raised $125 dollars in one week’s time where as the state’s website has raised more than $111,000.
“In the first 24 hours of the website launching we had donations in from all 50 states across the country,” said Republican Senator Steve Smith of Maricopa.
Cinchuck says he’s not trying to steal any of those donations away but as a result of the scrutiny, “I keep changing the website getting further and further from any thoughts it could be the same.”
In fact his site is no longer accepting donations, rather it directs you to the state website, and soon, “I’m turning it off.”
Cinchuck says he is more than happy to sell the state his domain name if they want it. Also he says he will send the two checks he’s received to the legitimate border fence fund.
The Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is warning people to be careful making donations online. He says the Arizona website shows the state seal and has the az.gov banner across the top.