Monday, September 15, 2014

Autism Charities Are Piggybank For Founders

 by Gary Snyder

For the second time, Brandie Christian was caught in a scam involving assistance to children with autism. 

Just two years ago, the state Attorney General’s Office forced the closure of one charity, Autism Awareness United, following allegations of malfeasance there. Christian worked for that charity, which saw donated money misspent prior to its closure.

After that closing, Christian and her husband launched Autism Outreach Foundation. They incorporated the charity as a nonprofit in December 2012, naming friends and family to its board before beginning to collect donations. The charity brought in well over $400,000 since its founding, but only $4,000 has been distributed to needy families. She spent donations on designer jeans, trinkets from a Vantage gem shop, skin care products and shoes, according to a lawsuit and also made cash withdrawals from the charity account. Thousands of dollars in donations remain unaccounted for.

The state consumer protection investigators contend she and husband Joshua Hani have been scamming donors to the charity they launched. Attorneys for the state filed a civil lawsuit against the pair in an effort to shut down the Autism Outreach Foundation. The organization – which hasn’t issued a single grant to a struggling family in 2014 – appears to still be collecting money from donors. (source)

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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