Charity Work

Caution In Charity Solicitations

Most people are inclined to support charities and other nonprofit organizations that provide critical financial assistance to the needy. But they might wonder just how many such groups there are because solicitations seem to be fielded more frequently than other groups.There are many legitimate organizations that provide assistance to the needy, but people need to be aware that there also are some scams, warns Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.Some unscrupulous individuals attempt to prey on the generosity of citizens toward such causes for their own gain."Sympathy fraud" is the term the attorney general has applied to schemes in which consumers and small businesses are defrauded by scammers' false claims that they are collecting donations on behalf of the poor or needy. This type of fraud often begins with an internet, telephone or mail solicitation carefully crafted to appeal to the good intentions of citizens, Abbott said. Solicitors claim they are collecting much-needed funds for sick individuals and their families. In some cases, the charity is nonexistent. In others, the charity is authentic, but only a small portion of donated funds actually goes to help officers or their families."The Office of the Attorney General will not tolerate this fraud," Abbott declared. His statement is backed by a record of action.
In 2004, the AG's office joined forces with Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford to halt the fraudulent telemarketing practices and financial improprieties of a group known as the Texas Police Officers Alliance.Telemarketers of the TPOA promised donors their financial gifts would provide death benefits for families of slain Texas police officers, including scholarships for their surviving children.But the DA office investigation revealed that solicitors collected $300,000 with their charity pitch, but only $500 was dispersed to the officers' families. That distribution figure likely was intended to be zero since it was made only after the AG's office sent TPOA a civil investigative demand requesting information. In relation to the claim contributions were being used to create scholarships, defendants failed to perform even the minimum requirements for establishing a scholarship, including notifying law enforcement agencies the funds would be available. Another common fraud scam identified by Abbott involves con artists who target the sick children offering to provide sheleter to their families during treatment. Abbott said some small businesses also have sent complaints to his office about receiving invoices for ads they never ordered or authorized. When business owners asked to see the ads, the sellers refused to produce them."This fraud steals money from generous Texans and hard-working citizens". Abbott observed. "Worse, it erodes public trust in legitimate charitable organizations. An official-sounding name is a common ploy. Fraudulent charities often have names very similar to names of well-known, trusted and legitimate organizations.Charities generally are not required to register in Texas, but those that claim to benefit cjo;drem and invalids are subject to special provisions of the Texas Law Enforcement Solicitation Act, and must register with the Office of the Attorney General. Certain organizations also are required to register, pay a fee and post a bond with the secretary of state.Even so, registration with one of those offices does not guarantee that the charity is trustworthy.
Some general guidelines for contributors to be certain their donations go for a legitimate cause are: Don't fall for high-pressure tactics, determine who is getting the donation, find out if the organization is bonded and registered and ask for written information. A legitimate charity will welcome requests for a written statement about the way a contribution will be used. Charity giving is vital to many worthy organizations, but donors need to "give wisely" to make certain their money goes to the right places.

"The Jacobs House will be our first project. In a private effort between Gadfly, Inc., private donors and corporate sponsors, the first project will be the building of two houses near St. Mary's Hospital and St. Elizabeth's Hospital for family members, siblings and parents of Premature Babies. This house will be a place, a haven so to call it, for family members to rest, visit and stay overnight free so that they can be near their new babies that are in PICU or NICU at both hospitals."

WHERE IS THE JACOB'S HOUSE???????????????????????????

Sam the Eagle