The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services warning on charity scams is instructive. In their website (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Scams_Charity.aspx) the Ministry warns: “How Do Charitable Donation Scams Work?
Phony fundraisers can contact you through mail, e-mail, telephone, or by knocking on your door. They claim to represent a charitable organization that helps people in need or is involved in a social issue, such as protecting the environment. They ask you for money. If you hesitate, they may try to pressure you. They may say the problem is desperate. They may say you need to act immediately. But beware. If you give them money, it often goes right into their own pockets!”
Charity scams exploit the fact that many people like to give with an open heart to help others in need. Unfortunately, that means we've created a climate that's ripe for fake charity scams and scam artists. They know they can tug at our heartstrings -- and rake in the cash.
Fake charity scams often set up quasi-legitimate agencies so that, at first glance, they look real; they may also name themselves something similar to other legitimate charities. They may even carry 'ID' in the name of the charity, complete with a logo. These scam artists use all of the standard methods to collect 'donations' for their charity scams -- tables at the local mall, going door-to-door, email, and telemarketing.
Some of the scammers may start with good intentions, but the gloss of lucre and the good life soon blind them and the long slippery slide to grand larceny begins.
Interestingly, over in Florida, a “non-profit” with the gloriously noble sounding name of “Allied Veterans of the World”, was recently busted over a $300 Million scam. Founded in 1979, they ran slot machine-style parlors around Florida.
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll reportedly co-owned a public relations firm that did business with Allied Veterans. She even appeared in a commercial for the organization in 2011, according to the Associated Press. She was questioned by investigators.
Via the Associated Press: “Each of the locations had rows of computers and a sign that read: ‘This is not a gaming establishment.’ On the walls were photos of company executives making donations and letters of recognition from some of the charities that supposedly benefited.”
Allied Veterans took in $300 million over a four-year period, but allegedly donated just 2 percent to charity. Authorities say some of that money was spent on boats, oceanfront property and high-end cars such as Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches.
Strip away the veneer of the “non-profit” gloss of some environmental organizations, and the similarities in their modus operandi becomes eerily similar. Organizations like the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) may spout all the right soundbites like “Environmentalism with teeth” but on closer examination, many of these environmentalists got into environmentalism as it enables them to sink their teeth into the massive funds provided by gullible corporations and the unsuspecting public!
To make matters worse, none of this would have come to light if not for Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo’s expose that it was the European Commission (EC) that was funding surrogate green groups like RAN to the tune of 1 million Euros per year to erect artificial trade barriers against palm oil that the EC was unable to do without violating WTO Rules, all in a vain effort to protect the EU’s indigenous edible oilseed industries like rapeseed and sunflower oil. These EU oils are hapless in the facing the market onslaught of the hyper yielding palm oil.
These funds were not going to be turned down by RAN and so they gleefully go along their merry ways using “manufactured” and false evidence against palm oil in their campaigns taking great care to leave 2.75 percent in the accounts to maintain the veneer of a non-profit whilst charging the bulk to administrative, fundraising and “program” expenses! Kaching!THE END