Thursday, March 9, 2023
News reports of thefts from charities and other improper diversions of charitable funds are unfortunately somewhat common, often reflecting the all too common combination of greed and lack of sufficient internal controls in many volunteer-run or under-staffed organizations. Usually these matters are handled by local authorities or state attorney general offices. But sometimes they rise to a level that the DOJ and FBI get involved. In the past month there have been a couple reported situations where this occurred:
The Kansas City Star reported that "Feds shut down Missouri Christian nonprofit that was supposed to cover medical bills". According to the article, the FBI and DOJ are alleging that section 501(c)(3) Medical Cost Sharing Inc. was "an elaborate fraud scheme that spanned the better part of a decade" operated by two individuals to enrich themselves. Additional coverage: Forbes. ProPublica has a related story about issues with several medical cost sharing ministries, including Medical Cost Sharing, Inc.
And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that "Feds probe St. Louis-area church, nonprofit that claimed millions in federal food aid". According to the article, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri has issued subpoenas relating to Influence Church and section 501(c)(3) New Heights Community Resource Center in the wake of earlier investigative reports by the paper. The investigation is focusing on federally funded child nutrition programs, under which millions of dollars were paid to the Church and Center.