Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nonprofit Fraud: One of the Biggest Charity Thefts-Ever

By Gary Snyder

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a federal lawsuit against the operators of a purported charitable organization based in Tallahassee, saying they defrauded hundreds of senior citizens in Florida and elsewhere. 

The SEC filed a complaint against Richard K. and Susan L. Olive, saying that as key executives of the We The People Inc. of the United States, they obtained more than $75 million from investors in Florida and more than 30 other states by selling them illegitimate charitable gift annuities designed to benefit themselves, third-party promoters and consultants. The SEC, in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, said the Olives essentially hijacked We the People — which had been largely dormant for years — and used it as a vehicle to raise money, not for charity, but for themselves. 

Throughout the relevant period, We The People did minimal charity work but paid the Olives more than a million dollars. Indeed, the Olives took far more than that, misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in investor funds without the knowledge or approval of anyone at We The People.”

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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