Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nonprofit Fraud: Another Sandy Relief Charity Investigation

by Gary Snyder

A state investigation is under way into the financial dealings of a Sandy relief group that has raised $1 million while misleading donors about its tax-exempt status.
An Asbury Park Press investigation published Sunday raised questions about the group, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation.
Among other findings, the Press found the HSRF wasn’t a 501(c)(3) entity, as it has claimed on its website, nor is it legally registered to raise funds in New Jersey. Its website also uses the name of the charity headed by New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, though state law prohibits such practices.
In addition to investigating the HSRF group, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is alerting dozens of other unregistered Sandy relief groups that they need to comply with the state’s charities code.
Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director the state Division of Consumer Affairs, said Monday that the agency began looking into the group in December when the division’s charities registration unit spotted red flags on the HSRF website, www.sandyrelief.org.

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 (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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