10 Charities That Conned The World

10 Charities That Conned The World 10 Oxfam There’s an expectation for larger charities to be more transparent than smaller, less-regulated non-profits, but fraud can find its way into the largest companies

Oxfam, for instance is a household name in charity, and tries to combat dishonest practice within its ranks by publishing annual fraud reports But in 2014, it was uncovered that Oxfam’s own head of counter-fraud had himself been laundering money through fictitious firms he had set up Attributed to a prescription medication addiction, Edward McKenzie-Green stole around $100,000 from the charity in total The 34-year-old was sentenced to 2 years and 5 months in prison for abusing his position while simultaneously investigating fellow charity workers in Haiti His replacement said in a statement that Oxfam had “introduced measures to prevent this from being able to happen again""

9 The Wounded Warrior Project The Wounded Warrior Project exists to aid the recovery of wounded and disabled US veterans be it mentally, physically, or financially Since 2003, it became the country’s fastest-growing veterans’ charity, receiving $372 million of donations in 2015 In 2016 however, a report by CBS news uncovered that compared to other charities who spend upwards of 90% of their budgets on veterans, the charity spent only 60 While this is considerably more than some entries on this list, the real deception uncovered by the report was how the remaining funds were spent

The charity’s employees would attend events that cost $3 million to throw, stay in $500-a-night hotels and live in what one employee called ‘total excess’, all on money raised for their country’s veterans Fortunately, the project’s leaders have since been ousted, in a move for the Wounded Warrior Project to rebrand themselves for the better 8 Wishing Well Foundation USA Wishing Well Foundation USA was set up in 1995 by a husband and wife team after the child of their friend passed away The good intention seems to stop there however, as in 1999 they lost a court case over their misleading telemarketing campaign, prohibiting them from soliciting funds until 2004

But they returned from this setback to raise money under a contract allowing its telemarketing contractor to keep 90% of the donations In 2013, a Tampa Bay Times study revealed that less than 5% of the millions of dollars donated a year was spent on direct charitable aid, helping fewer than 150 terminally ill children in over 20 years To put this in context, the Better Business Bureau considers spending more than 35% on costs other than direct aid to be excessive This misspending earnt the charity a zero star rating from the website Charity Navigator every year since its first appearance on the site in 2005 7

The Red Cross Haiti Fund On January 12, 2010, a devastating 73 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, causing around $85 billion of damage The tragedy was met by the world with countless charitable donations, the majority of which were collected by The Red Cross, who raised $488 million Despite a total of around $14 billion being raised globally, 7 years later 55,000 people were still living in camps

The United Nations reported that 25 million Haitians were still in need of humanitarian aid, and fingers were pointed at several charities, but mostly the Red Cross One NPR report accused the charity of having “broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success"" While the charity claimed to help over 130,000 Haitians, it was revealed their funding had built just six permanent homes

The charity has never fully disclosed its spending, but the country’s former prime minister has commented that the charity’s claims “Don’t add up” 6 American Breast Cancer Foundation Founded in 1997, the American Breast Cancer Foundation was considered “one of the most wasteful charities in the nation” according to a CNN report Purporting to fund breast cancer screenings for low-income women, the company paid 75 cents of every dollar to a telemarketing company who solicited donations for them This company not only took $18 million of the charity’s earnings of just under $25 million, but was owned by the son of the charity’s founder Phyllis Wolf

On top of this, both Phyllis and her son received annual salaries from the charity of over $100,000 Times are changing however, and after intense scrutiny of its practices the charity forced Wolf to resign, and severed its ties to professional telemarketers in 2010 Just four years later, the American Breast Cancer Foundation received a Gold Level Rating by Non-Profit data collector Guide Star 5 The Boys Choir of Harlem Established in 1993, the Choir Academy of Harlem worked on an agreement with the city of New York that they could operate rent free out of a public school in order to offer first-rate musical tuition to more than 600 underprivileged children

The Academy was home to the Boys Choir of Harlem, who performed at The White House and the Royal Albert Hall, despite less than a third of their funding going towards programming costs The choir’s controversy didn’t stop there however, when in 2001, allegations were levelled against one of the academy’s teachers of sexual misconduct with a 12 year old In a statement he later recanted, director Walter Turnbull confessed that the boy brought the allegations to him 10 months earlier Since then, Turnbull had allowed the teacher to chaperone 8 overnight school trips and even paid his bail from prison Despite no further allegations or evidence of a cover up, the choir was evicted from the school in 2006, and performed for the last time in 2007

4 The Kids Wish Network The Kids Wish Network was established in 1997 as one of many charities who trade off their similarity to the better intentioned Make a Wish Foundation The charity, which operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday, Florida, has been accused of exploiting the public’s generous sentiments towards children with terminal illness for its own gain In 2013, it earned the title of ‘Worst Charity in America’ after a 10 year investigation lead by CNN found that less than 3 percent of every dollar donated goes towards charitable works In the 10 years leading to this study, Kids Wish Network received over $127 million, over $100 million of which was paid to independent fund soliciting companies owned by the charity’s founder

When an employee raised concerns about this to the board, however, she was fired within 45 minutes, and later had her house raided by the FBI from a tip provided by her former employers 3 Hurricane Katrina Scams With damage costs estimated at $108 billion, 2006’s Hurricane Katrina has been dubbed as ""the single most catastrophic natural disaster in US history"" by FEMA For the most part, the world rallied behind those affected, with donations reaching the billions But to some, the disaster presented an opportunity to exploit people’s generosity in a time of need, and the FBI estimates around 4,000 websites were created to trick people into funding scammers

The full extent of the fraud may never be discovered, but the larger schemes garnered upwards of $700,000 dollars The US government has prosecuted more than 1,000 cases of Katrina-related fraud since 2006, but the majority remain at large 2 Hale House Clara Hale established Hale House orphanage in 1969 to help babies and toddlers who had been affected by drugs and AIDS Clara earned the affectionate title of “Mother Hale” for her charity work and was even called an American hero by president Reagan, so when she died, Clara’s daughter rightly wanted to commemorate her mother

But she chose to do this by commissioning a bronze statue of her mother, costing just under half a million dollars of money donated to the charity Lorraine Hale’s other expenses included a Jacuzzi and funding for a failed theatre production produced by her husband, who employees reported as referring to the orphans as ‘cash cows’ Hale and her husband were criminally indicted in 2002 and ordered to repay the over $1 million they stole Sadly, this tarnished the good name of the charity Mother Hale had started, and Hale House closed its doors in 2008 1

The Cancer Fund of America Established in 2008, the Cancer Fund of America and its sister company Cancer Support Services had received $75 million in donations by 2012 It would later be revealed that $655 million, or 86% of this, had gone directly to the charities’ executives and fundraisers, with only about 25% actually going to charity Instead of the medication and financial support it claimed, all the Cancer Fund of America actually distributed to cancer sufferers were “gift boxes”, filled with things like shampoo and batteries

The only medication they distributed had been gifted to them, and often weren’t even drugs made for cancer patients Founder James Reynolds spent most of the money on holidays and cars for his family, who were also CEOs of 3 spinoff charities, claiming hundreds of thousands in salaries In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission and all 50 US states filed a historic case against Reynolds, about the misuse of a total $187 in donations Reynolds settled for an undisclosed fee and can never work in charity again So that was 10 charities that conned the world

Have you ever been tricked by a charity? Would you still trust one with your money? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to like and subscribe While you’re at it, check out this great Alltime10s video on screen now

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