Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Former Nonprofit Treasurer Sentenced To 30 Months

The former treasurer of the Ronald McDonald House Holiday Cruise was sentenced to 30 months in jail after being convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from the charity's fund.

Randall Morrison, 50, was sentenced Monday in a U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash., according to an article on SeattlePi.com. Morrison was also ordered to pay $112,220 in restitution. He had earlier admitted to stealing $142,000 from the nonprofit's fund, which left the small holiday charity facing bankruptcy. Morrison had no affiliation with the organization's larger affiliate, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Masada called Morrison's crimes "inexcusable," noting that his salary was at times as high as $160,000 a year. The money stolen from the fund would have been used to finance holiday cruises for sick children and their families who have displaced from their homes during Christmas because of these illnesses. Masada said that Morrison used the money to finance his personal lifestyle. For his part, Morrison said he was motivated to steal because of gambling debts he had while he struggled to deal with his wife's health problems. His attorney, Lynn Hartfield, told the court he has since stopped gambling and is seeking treatment for his addiction.

While Morrison serves his 30 months in prison, the Ronald McDonald House Holiday Cruise has been forced to cut back on its activities because of the lost money. This includes significantly curtailing the Holiday Cruise and festivals on Mother's Day, Father's Day, and an Easter brunch.

Morrison was able to steal the money undetected for years after he joined the organization in 2005 because of a lack of internal safeguards at the organization. The embezzlement only came to light in 2009, when his new employer contacted the charity about discrepancies on his business credit card. An investigation subsequently revealed that more than $100,000 had gone missing.

Further investigation did show that Morrison repaid $30,000 in 2006. In a letter to the court, Hartfield wrote that Morrison is remorseful for his crimes and is "concerned" about the long-term impact of his actions on his wife and children.

You can read the full story on this case on SeattlePi's website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

U.S. Eases Sanctions For Nonprofits Working In Myanmar

The United States has eased financial sanctions that will allow U.S. nonprofits to do humanitarian and development work in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.

ABC News reported today that the Treasury Department announced the changes to the sanctions as a reward for the military-dominated country, sometimes known as Burma, for instituting democratic reforms. It is the first of many changes that will be made by the Obama administration after Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party won a landslide victory during the country's recent by-elections. The U.S. also plans to ease restrictions to allow some investment to the country and the export of other financial services. Tough sanctions on trade will remain in place for now.

The international work that will be done by nonprofits should bring much needed help to a country that is one of the poorest in Southeast Asia after 50 years of military rule.

You can read the full story on ABC News' website.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nonprofit Health Exec Accused Of Scammed Tax Returns

New York authorities have accused the former manager of a Long Island, N.Y.-based Head Injury Association (HIA), a nonprofit health agency, of stealing the IDs of more than 50 brain injury patients in an effort to get better tax returns.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Benjamin Achampong is facing indictment on the charges in Suffolk County. Achampong hasn't worked at HIA since 2006, and the organization is cooperating with investigators.

The list of charges against Achampong are very serious. He allegedly used patients' Social Security numbers and other IDs to file false tax returns. He's also accused of collecting more than $20,000 in NY state tax refunds, and from New Jersey and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Achampong is being held on $50,000 bail in Suffolk County Jail.

You can read the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

April 15 Issue Released

The April 15, 2012 edition of The NonProfit Times has been released! If you haven't already received it in the mail, you can take a look at some of its content on our website.

Articles

Columns:
  • Who Has Money?What does a 90-years-dead Italian economist know about modern nonprofit fundraising? Plenty, according to Josh Whichard, Jeffery Hunt and Kevin Shulman, who spoke about a principle developed by Vilfredo Pareto in the early 20th century, popularly known as “the 80/20 Rule.”
  • Your 403(b) PlanWhen the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it was going to start auditing 403(b) plans for the 2009 tax year, the notification, for the most part, received scant attention.
You can view all of the articles via our website.