Monday, September 16, 2013

Will This Charity Fraud Turn The Tables?

by Gary Snyder

For the better part of a decade the leadership of the charitable sector has denied that there is anything called charity fraud. They refuse to talk about it, acknowledge it at conferences and suggest that that there is little documentation to substantiate all claims.

The Independent Sector, the self-proclaimed leader of the sector, through its leader Diana Aviv, has suggested that there is no problem. Well she can't say that now because her husband's organization has been hit, broadside, by a substantial fraud.

A $800,000 scheme targeting funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hit the charity devoted to helping children. Aviv’s husband Speirn Sterling is the President/Chief Executive Officer and runs the Kellogg Foundation.

“Not only did those children not receive the $629,000 he directly stole, his crime had far-reaching impact, because it led WKKF to withdraw from its charitable activities in Africa,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy VerHey wrote in court documents.

The perpetrator was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and emigrated to the U.S. in 1995 as a political refugee because of turmoil in his former country. The father of two, he wanted to improve his own life and help others in Zimbabwe do the same. He did the opposite for all concerned. 

His lawyer said the allegations brought against the crook  “a great deal of shame.” Unfortunately most embezzlers express remorse only after facing a judge or being convicted.

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: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter,, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit,, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner,, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today,, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization),, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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