Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mid June Edition-Nonprofit Imperative E-Newsletter

Nonprofit Imperative
Your nonprofit browser
June 2014
The twice-monthly newsletter dedicated to:
  • exposing the crisis in nonprofit fraud leadership…a crisis of pervasive and monumental waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and malfeasance throughout the charitable sector which costs taxpayers and contributors tens of billions of dollars annually; and,
  • seeking reforms that will restore the public’s lost confidence in the sector.
What’s Included:
Skunk of the Month:
Island Child Development Ctr.; Urban Life Ministries (and four other church-related frauds)
Charity Check Up:
UK Children’s Charities; Foundation for America’s Homeless
A Thought or Two:
Slave Crusader Ouster; Serial Embezzler
Nonprofit News-In Case You Missed It:
Robin Hood Fund; Boy Scouts; Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles …more
Political/Official Chicanery:
SC; PA; OK; CA; VA; SD…more
What Do You Think?

The Charities Aid Foundation in London published its annual world giving index and the U.S. was only 13th when it came to donating money. It ranked third place in giving time and first place when it came to helping out someone in need.
The new IRS Form 1023-“EZ” would all but eliminate the current due diligence undertaken by the IRS by not requiring applicants for charitable status to supply supporting documentation and information about their planned activities. 
The IRS will presumably not perform a detailed review to ensure that the applicants understand the rules of the road for running a charitable nonprofit, including that the organization will benefit the public, not themselves. (source)
The trusting nature of the organizations, combined with limited, often casual, internal controls, makes charities susceptible to fraud. There is a discernible trend in Southeast Texas. The average loss is $100,000, an 11 percent increase from the previous study and a significant loss to any charitable organization.
Skunk of the Month…
Skunk of the Month is the twice-monthly designation made by Nonprofit Imperative, the organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in nonprofits and government. The Skunk of the Month award is given to charities and government officials who show blatant disregard for the interests and trust of contributors and taxpayers. This month’s example is:
             “They came to do good and they did very well indeed (for themselves).”
$12.4 of Special Needs Funds Taken; More, Church Fraud
Four New York men, including a rabbi, were indicted for allegedly stealing more than $12.4 million in funding intended for children with disabilities. The indictment charges that they diverted money intended for the Island Child Development Center, which serves Orthodox preschool children with disabilities, and used the stolen funds for personal expenses, home repairs and other business endeavors, as well as to benefit various Orthodox Jewish institutions in New York State. Approximately $8 million allegedly went to numerous religious schools and summer camps, including $3 million to the B’nos Bais Yaakov Academy, an Orthodox girls school also in Far Rockaway where Hiller is principal.
More than $1 million in Island Child checks were cashed or had cashed, many in   
the names of individuals or businesses that had not consented. If convicted, each of the defendants faces up to 25 years in prison. (source)
More of the same: A New York City clergyman whose use of millions of dollars raised for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina victims triggered a state investigation has agreed to pay $1.2-million in restitution to his church to settle the inquiry. The $1.2-million repayment involves church funds authorities said the couple used to buy an 18th-century farmhouse in rural New Jersey.
The perpetrator’s nonprofit groups, Urban Life Ministries and Aid for the World, rose $4.8-million in 9/11 and other disaster appeals. He and Ms. Keyes allegedly used funds from the church and the charities on extensive travel, on a luxury car, and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal debts.
Still more of the same: A pastor at Wellspring Church in MI is charged with embezzlement of $18,000. He is at another church nearby.
Yes, more: A former pastor convicted of embezzling from his Scottsville (KY) church was sentenced to seven years in prison. Police determined he had stolen about $300,000 from New Gospel Outreach Church over a period of about 10 years.
Yes more: A woman will spend the next two years in prison for embezzling more than $303,000 from the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (MO) checking account for over 4 year period.
Yet another: The church's trusted money man -- handling synod books and volunteering for its nonprofit organization, Rural Life Outreach was sentenced in Clay County (MN) District Court to four years in prison for stealing more than $750,000 from the synod. For more than 4 years, he stole money that congregants had left in the collection plate during services including money that was designated for the church's hunger appeal while writing hundreds of checks to himself.
Another example of a Veteran organization that is a scam
National Women Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) director Tara Jones wanted to use donations to buy a yacht to live on and then rent it to other nonprofits to make money.  When asked, Jones could never explain how her group helped veterans. A local San Diego television station broke the news of allegations from former employees that Jones gambled donations in Las Vegas. She spent $15,000 for a gala where 20 people showed up. She owes tens of thousands of dollars for contracts that were broken.
More of the same: Oregon authorities have accused the father of an Iraq War veteran who committed suicide after his tour of duty of collecting donations to a nonexistent charity named for his late son. Investigators say he accepted online gifts to the Matthew M. Brennan Foundation, ostensibly to benefit soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. The foundation does not have a 501(c)(3) designation. Authorities say contributions to the foundation went into Michael Brennan’s personal bank account and that he persuaded local contractors to donate remodeling services
Another one: The National Veteran Services Fund (CT) was hit with an $830,000 embezzlement. NVSF is a nonprofit organization that accepts donations to assist veterans and their families across the country. The bookkeeper’s responsibilities included payroll and the disbursement of funds to the charity's clients, according to police. The auditors picked it up after 5 years of thefts.
Charity Check Up:
UK Regulators Close Charity That Funded Its Trustees
Aiding Children, a UK children’s charity that was used as a front for trustees to use donations for their own benefit, has been shut down. The charity was registered to provide "relief of poverty and hardship among children", according to its leaders but showed that only 6 per cent of its income was spent on charitable purposes. Following an audit of old bank account records, it was found regular payments to all of the former trustees. The agency was referred to the national fraud and Internet crime report center.
Unregistered Homeless Refuses to Show Proof; There Is None
An unregistered The Foundation for America's Homeless website offered up photos of serene tented campsites, even a cabin in the woods with working electricity.
But when 
WESH 2 News Investigative reporter Matt Grant asked the charity's director to show them where those campsites are, he would not.
And he has repeatedly refused to show them proof the charity has provided shelter to anyone at all.
It turns out that cabin in the woods is actually a bathroom at Yellowstone National Park. And a photograph of a tent on the website was actually taken by a blogger in Canada who told us she never gave permission for the Foundation to use her photo.
WESH 2 News Investigates began, yes, investigating. With a day or two several changes had been made to charity's founder Larry Hamer's website. The photos of tents and campsites were removed and the headline on the Foundation's website had been changed from, "We are housing America's homeless," to, "We provide needs for America's homeless."
While Hamer refused to open his financial books to WESH 2 News, the Foundation's federal tax documents are public record. The 2012 documents were shared with Ken Berger of Charity Navigator, who said there were a number of potential red flags, including not reporting administrative expenses and listing a salary expense while claiming the charity has no paid employees.
"You need to be able to trust a charity, and when they are manipulating images, when they are refusing to give you basic information. This seems like an organization that is questionable at best," he said. (source)
A Thought or Two:
Sex-slave crusader ousted from foundation as her tale crumbles
One of the world’s leading anti-sex slavery activists got bounced from her own foundation (Somaly Mam Foundation) because her heartbreaking tale of being sold into child prostitution and years of abuse fell apart. 
Somaly Mam had become the pretty, glamorous face of the anti-sex trafficking movement, courting celebrities and world political leaders. 
Friends of Mam said she grew up with both parents, graduated from high school and led a happy, comfortable childhood. 
“[With donors], she’s very polished and very on and very charming … exceedingly charming,” a whistle-blower told Newsweek. “And when people are not there, she can be tyrannical; she’s moody, she’s erratic, she’s entitled.”
The foundation has raised millions of dollars and Mam's salary exceeded $125,000. (source)
Can’t Help Himself, So The Courts Will Do So
A former Ohio man convicted in 2008 of embezzling more than $1.8 million from a non-profit organization that operates residential care facilities for the mentally disabled is accused of violating his probation, and has a court hearing next month.
Craig Rohr was convicted of multiple felony counts and sentenced to nine years in prison in October 2008 for stealing more than $1.8 million from Hartville Homes. The theft occurred between 2001 and 2007 while Rohr was employed as the organization’s chief financial officer. Rohr also was charged with stealing $100,000 from St. Barbara Catholic Church in Massillon, and $21,769 related to rental property owned by the church.
Rohr, who served as the church’s financial adviser from February 2002 to October 2005, deposited the money into other accounts.
In a separate case, Rohr was convicted in Summit County for felony theft in connection with his former Cuyahoga Falls-based business, Falls Consumer Credit Management.
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Nonprofit News…
In Case You Missed It:
1.     The Robin Hood American Dream Fund, which supports groups helping immigrants and their families, raised $60-million at its annual gala. The fundraising total fell from the $80.5-million collected at last May’s gala. Over half the funds raised – $35 million – will go toward a newly launched Robin Hood American Dream Fund, for support of non-profit organizations that help immigrants and their families gain the skills and resources they need to move from poverty to prosperity. Since its founding in 1988, the Foundation states it has raised and granted more than $1.45 billion in support of New York’s neediest residents.
2.     With Las Vegas-style charitable gambling events that regulators say have run amok, Michigan is trying to institute regulations to rein them in.  Revenue from the events was only $7.9 million in 2002 but jumped to $184 million a decade later.
3.     Robert Gates, former secretary of defense and director of the Central Intelligence was elected to the troubled Boy Scouts of America. The agency continues to be roiled by its policy on gay Scouts and leaders. The Boy Scouts’ national board voted to allow openly gay children to become Scouts but to continue to bar openly gay adults from leadership positions; the group has been criticized by some for having gone too far, and by others for not going far enough. Some groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, have condemned the Boy Scouts for admitting gay youths. But several companies, including Disney and Merck, have announced in recent months that they plan to cut off funding if the Scouts do not change the rule prohibiting gay adults. This week, gay rights advocates submitted a petition to Amazon.com with about 125,000 signatures asking the company to remove the Boy Scouts from its list of charitable organizations.
4.     Another award winner is another embarrassment: The recipient of a Hallandale Beach humanitarian award — has been charged with bilking thousands in city funds earmarked for a student trip.  The bandleader for Gulfstream Middle School in Hallandale Beach, is also director of the Palms Center for the Arts, a nonprofit school for drama, dance and music has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars.
5.     The former top official of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles who pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $370,000 from the organization has been sentenced to 20 months in federal prison.
6.     A Florida pastor was found dead of an apparent suicide amid an investigation he had embezzled about $200,000 from St. Joseph Catholic Church, authorities said.
7.     The founder of USA Harvest pleaded guilty to stealing $183,354 in donations that he solicited on behalf of the nonprofit USA Harvest. Hugh "Stan" Curtis acknowledged depositing $164,620 into his personal account and cashing donation checks totaling $18,734 and using the funds for his personal benefit. Curtis did not report the $183,354 as income with the Internal Revenue Service. Of the $553,891.67 in unreported income, prosecutors said, Curtis used about $370,537.67 in USA Harvest funds to pay for personal meals, personal travel and personal entertainment expenses. In total, Curtis failed to pay $270,000 in federal income tax from calendar years 2005 through 2008.
We flagged these few examples of nonprofit mischief 
1.     Lighthouse Domestic Violence Shelter and the Domestic Violence Awareness Center (WV) $10000
2.     Riley's Creek Baptist Church (NC) $114,000 
3.     Texas A&M (TX) $75,000
4.     Maine Tourism Association $127,000
5.     Korean Social Service Center (NY) $780,000
6.     17 charities and non-profit organizations (NJ) $750,000
7.     Martial Arts Foundation (GA) $600,000
8.     Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida $900,000
9.     St. Patrick's Seminary and University (CA) $200,000
10.  Elk County Humane Society (PA)  $422,000
11.  Rainbow Fleet, Inc (OK)/National Association for Family Child Care $27,000
12.  Owosso Community Players (MI) <$1000
13.  American Association Australia $800,000
14.  Albion (MI) District Library <$14,000
15.  One Fund Boston $480,000
16.  International Aid Services – USA, Inc. $30,000
17.  Natalie Rae Nance Scholarship Fund (MI) $22,000
18.  Westport Baseball & Softball (CT) $40,000
19.  Flemington Raritan Baseball (NJ) $100,000
20.  Peace and Joy Care Center (CA) $700,000
21.  N.C. A&T’s foundation $400,000
22.  Santa Rosa Junior College $286,000
23.  "Support our Troops Foundation" (MD) unknown
24.  Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development Council over $50,000
25.  UC Berkeley (CA) $85,000
26.  Triangle Club of Princeton University (NJ) $180,000
27.  Breckenridge Festival of Film (CO)  $210,000
28.  “M.E.” (non-profit trade association) (CA) $520,000
29.  Alcoa City Schools/East Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Association (ETASA)/Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Steering Committee (TASSC) over $400,000
30.  Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (MN) $300,000
31.  University of Rhode Island Feinstein College of Continuing Education $200,000 
32.  Grand Isle County courthouse and the Champlain Islands Parent-Child Center (VT) up to $500,000
33.  Pulaski County High School cheerleading (VA)  $50,000
Political/public official chicanery (just a few):
1.     A former employee of the Greenwood County (SC) Sheriff’s Office was indicted for embezzling over $10000 from the agency over 5 years.
2.     Ex-treasurer of the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department was sentenced to1 to 5 years in state prison, plus 2 years of probation for embezzling $129,000 from the nonprofit group.
3.     A former supervisor for Oklahoma City’s Animal Welfare Division has been charged with embezzlement of $5,143.30.
4.     A woman with a previous felony embezzlement conviction was given control of public and donated money at the University of California at Berkeley, where Sonia Chante Waters is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars to pay for her childrens’ private-school tuition and other expenses. Waters, the daughter of a former UC Berkeley employee and prominent Black Panthers leader, allegedly forged a former dean’s signature on university checks several times beginning in early 2013. Waters’ attorney says his client admitted she had stolen university money. A university spokeswoman said UC Berkeley was still determining the amount stolen, but the attorney says the school told him it could be as much as $90,000.
5.     A former Montezuma County undersheriff accused of using taxpayer money to pay for personal items, including firearms, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. Cronk was initially charged with 17 embezzlement counts and one count of official misconduct involving purchases totaling more than $7,400. He was accused of trying to sell some of the firearms by posting classified ads.
6.     A former deputy clerk in the Albemarle County (VA) Circuit Court Clerk’s office has been charged with embezzlement after allegedly pocketing nearly $14,000 in court fees over four years.
7.     Former Weirton Mayor Mark Harris has agreed to pay more than $16,000 to the city in exchange for the dismissal of criminal charges against him and his wife.
8.     A Watertown (SD) woman accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the local school district has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000 and also ordered to pay restitution of nearly $147,000.
Authorities say she took the money while she was benefits coordinator for the
district. She was fired late last year and pleaded guilty in May to a grand theft charge.
She was previously convicted of embezzling from her father-in-law's business in Iowa in the late 1990s.
Readers, weigh in as to what you think…please continue the tips (they are very helpful) gary.r.snyder@gmail.com
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 there is money missing. On rare occasions, there may be duplicates.
Cites in various media:
Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Charity Navigator, Washington Post, National Enquirer, The Patriot-News, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, In Touch, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, msnbc.com, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Tactical Philanthropy, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News, Newsweek.com, 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, The Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual, MichiganNonprofit.com, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit, ncrp.org, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner, msnbc.com, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today, VPR News, National Enquirer,
  • Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (Xlibris, 2011)
  • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
  • The Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual, Governance Section
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Email: gary.r.snyder@gmail.com; 248/324-3700;
Gary Snyder is the author of Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (Xlibris, June, 2011) and Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, February, 2006) and articles in numerous publications. The book can be bought at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Barnes and Noble (store)
© Gary R. Snyder, All Rights Reserved, 2014

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