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What Harm Could a Little Charity Scam Do?

April 15, 2013 , ,

I have lived in my condo for 11 years in central Tucson.  My location next door to a full time charity scam in operation for many years has  ruined quality of life, safety, and property value while  giving the neighbors a dim view of law enforcement. I can think of few crimes ethically and morally lower than taking advantage of the public’s ignorance and sympathy to make a living by claiming falsely to be doing charity.  I have learned that most of the public does not write off tax deductible donations, and therefore may be completely unaware of the laws governing charity and donations.  Sandra Day O’Connor has her work cut out for her in her attempt to teach Americans how government works.

Ignorance is not all bliss for the folks supporting charity scamming over real non profits.   Giving an unreported income to a scam hurts legitimate charities by diverting donations, money and volunteer time to private, criminal (unreported) purposes.  These days when the Food Bank and Salvation Army are scraping to get by, it is especially insulting to compete with community resources by scamming for donations that are never reported.  The laws are in place to protect the public, but there is not much sophistication about the law.  The IRS grants non-profit status to those who prove they are serving the community.  Once the status of 501C3 non profit corporation is obtained strict accounting must be submitted to the IRS to keep the status.  Deciding that you are entitled to collect donations from the public without following any laws that legal charities have to follow is a lot like stealing resources from the victims you claim to help.  If you cash in on sympathy for the homeless without really helping the homeless find shelter or improve their lives your crimes are deeply immoral.  Shelters that are there all the time for them need the donations that are diverted by scammers who decide they are above the law. One of the typical ways scammers approach the public is to donate for holidays.  This one is no different, collecting donations full time to supposedly help someone eat outside in a park on a holiday.  If you give support to anyone, please check to know that your “charity”  reports donations to the IRS and has some oversight.

In Tucson it is easy to live above the law.  We have the 20th worst run city in America, according to some Wall Street Journal poll.  I think the listing was overly flattering to Tucson.  You can openly beg for donations, collect them in a residential condo, then solicit help from the public to prepare food in a residential kitchen to be served outdoors in a park to homeless people. You can break the revenue laws of the US and Arizona, the health code of Pima County, the zoning laws of the city of  Tucson for as many years as you like.  Your neighbors can report your crime to the cops, the city councilwoman, the mayor, the city manger and the IRS.  No response or help will come from the vast numbers of folks who are paid to enforce the law.  They do not see any problem with breaking all these laws to run a charity scam in a residential condo.  Law enforcement is the least of their concern.

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3 notes

  1. Probable Cause | mermaidcamp reblogged this and added:

    […] If you are asked for donations from anyone, ask to see the 501C3 the IRS issues legal charities. It is apparently easy to operate fraudulent philanthropical donation sites for many years with no interference from the IRS. Our local law enforcement has practiced and advised willful blindness to these crimes, which I think is incredibly weird.  I have hired and put  a lawyer on retainer because this has gone on for too long and seriously damaged our property value. I think we are entitled to law enforcement from the agencies we pay to enforce the law.  However, if you need to hire and pay a lawyer to show those agencies probable cause it is better than allowing crime to trash your neighborhood. […]

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  2. Mansplaining Explained | mermaidcamp reblogged this and added:

    […]  Finally this year a cop came out in person to mansplain to me why the fake neighborhood watch to promote crime and willful blindness in our neighborhood was serving and protecting us.  He informed me that he is the law, as if a […]

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  3. #WeekendCoffeeShare Ignorance Crisis | mermaidcamp reblogged this and added:

    […] and promoting the most obvious crime in our neighborhood. Alas, the police do not understand that HOA fraud and charity scamming are against the law.  They encouraged the scam, and even promoting cramming the fire lane full of […]

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