Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A typical nonprofit fraud scenario …

by Gary Snyder

Randall Morrison earned up to $160,000 a year in legitimate income, yet he admitted to stealing $142,000 from the Seattle-based Ronald McDonald House Holiday Cruise fund. A recent study indicated that most of those that steal from charities have ample incomes but want more to splurge with. 

The former treasurer of a children's charity who raided the fund was sentenced up to 30 months in prison and was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $112,220 in restitution. The charity provided a wish list for sick kids and their siblings.

With internal safeguards in place, Morrison would not have been able to conduct his long-running theft by wiring money or cutting checks on the charity’s account. He had all the charity’s bank statements and financial statements sent directly to him. He fabricated reports to the charity’s board to hide the fact that the charity’s accounts were dwindling. The charity's apparent fraud was perpetrated on Morrison’s business credit card as well. 

To lighten the sentence, Morrison forged his wife’s signature on a medical information release. He failed to keep up the charity’s registration with the state, resulting in penalties to the charity, or file tax returns. He virtually bankrupted the organization. (link) Guess those in positions of trust were not watching. 

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, , Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
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