I believe I've found a business that cells itself a charity, files 990 exemption forms, but is not a charity at all. It's been active 8 years or so, and I'd like to find out if the issues I find suspicious on this charity's 990 forms are as significant as I believe they are.
First, this charity claims to help children with disabilities; they state 50 children a year come to their facilities and get therapy. They claim the kids are referred to them by doctors, therapists, or local public organizations that are for disables children. I called the organizations who refer parents to places for therapy; they'd never heard of this one, despite its proximity, but knew of the other three rehabs which offer identical help, but are much further away. I also called every pediatrician and doctor that specializes in areas that a disabled child might see; no one had heard of it.
The board of directors was only 4 people, all related through marriage, but using maiden names on the 990 so the relation isn't obvious. The fourth person is their tax Pearson, while address doesn't exist; it's in the middle of a national park.
For 2 consecutive years, only two employees are listed. They are both therapists. But on the line on the 990 asking how much was paid out to employees over the year, $600 was entered.
The 990 stated that $22,000 was spent for someone to make and upkeep a web page about the charity and it's facilities. The charity had no web site, nor had they ever had a web site. If someone gave a friend the name or description of this charity, but couldn't remember the phone number, the friend could look everywhere- phone book, internet, therapy centers, and never find it. If eventually they did get it from a 990, they'd get a line long disconnected.
The other purchases listed on the 990 were few, expensive, and all of the same thing. It was an item the charity would need, albeit the charity wouldn't need the highest echelon of quality these purchases represented; the purchases listed was a luxury item that could lend great enjoyment as something privately owned. The similar charities list of purchases gave the impression of a working institution; everything from office supplies to equipment used at such a place.
There is nothing on the internet about them; despite 8 years of offering their therapy, the only mention one can find of this charity is on sites offering public 990 forms, or
on a few of the sites that pick up public phone numbers and business names from the white pages or data bank, then the site makes a generic page for the business. These sites hope the business will then come to the site, and use the page, filling it up with advertisement, information on what, where, and why the business exists. These sites especially offer a way for the business / charity to tell the world how to reach them.
this charity has never been in the local papers, nor on local TV, nor news.
The charity lists only one phone number, but it hasn't worked for two years.
The charity shows it makes $80.000 to $200,000 in fund raisers and donations. There haven't been any fund raisers thrown for this place. I looked at the 990 forms of the other charities offering very similar help to children; those charities list each fundraiser thrown, what and when it was, and the amount each fundraiser raised. Any other type of money drive is also similarly listed, described, and the amount of money received is noted. All the similar charities did this.
The charity I find suspicious wrote one word; donations. Then the amount, which ran from 80K to 200K each year.
I called one of the board members who served for the first several years, but then wasn't listed as board member anymore. The 990 stated this person spent 3-4 hours a month in meetings. The interesting thing about this person is that they live next door to the charity. The charity sits on some of the most expensive land in the state. It's a huge parcel; the board member/ neighbor has the lot next to this charity, and was an executive of a company that gives severance packages in the high 7 figures. This neighbors portfolio in stock or it may have been charitable donations is public, and hundreds of items long. So, this is an extremely wealthy person. The 1%, you could call them! and be right. When I calked them, after hearing a hello and that my call concerned the charity in question, they became extremely agitated, and said their relationship,with the charity was O V E R; the attempt to put distance between the charity and themselves couldn't have been clearer.
I didn't attempt any more questions. My interpretation is that this person found out the extent of the charity next door, and realized that their involvement with it could bring big trouble if and when the authorities discovered the truth.
Does all this make you suspicious?