Charity Fraud: The Potential Penalties

When it comes to prosecuting charity fraud it is not always straightforward. The legal system presents severe possible penalties for defrauding a charity. There are many ways one could be charged with charity fraud. It isn’t always as simple as pretending to be a charity or taking funds from a legitimate charity. If you’ve been charged with charity fraud it can be difficult to defend your case, especially on your own.  


Society does not take charity fraud lightly and if you are charged with charity fraud you need to make sure you have a qualified defense attorney on your side. The attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law want to explain what charity fraud is and the penalties associated with it and how we can help if you ever find yourself in a situation that is allegedly charity fraud. 


If you find yourself in need of legal representation or legal help, look no further than Stechschulte Nell Law. Don’t wait; give us a call today. 


What is Charity Fraud? 



Fraud is legally defined as the intentional deception or misrepresentation that is made for personal gain. When someone takes advantage of a charitable organization or non-profit organization for their gain that is called charity fraud.  


There are many ways to be accused of defrauding a charitable organization. Some can be on a smaller scale, such as pretending to be a victim of a disaster to get money to stealing donations from a collection tin. Or on the other hand, large-scale examples of charity fraud include setting up fictitious charities for personal gain or falsely representing where your legitimate charity’s funds go.  



Types of Charity Fraud 



Charity fraud comes in many forms, but most fraud typically falls into three categories: 



  1. Theft or unlawful taking of money or property belonging to the charity 
  2. Misrepresentation of the organization’s charitable status 
  3. Misappropriation of funds 



Listed below are some of the most common ways that charity fraud is committed: 



  • Pretending to be a charity or falsely claiming to be associated with a legitimate charity to solicit donations 
  • Falsely representing the charitable cause or the amount of money that will be donated to the cause 
  • Diverting donated funds to personal use 
  • Falsifying documents or receipts to make it appear that a donation was made 
  • Inflating the value of the donated item 
  • Tampering with records or record books 



Potential Penalties for Charity Fraud 


Committing charity fraud comes with harsh and severe penalties. Depending on the scale of the fraud, criminal justice penalties can include incarceration, fines, and restitution. Fraud can also be tried civilly resulting in additional penalties such as paying damages and forfeiture of assets. 


The penalties for charity fraud also go well beyond the criminal and civil justice systems. The aftermath can cause distrust in other charities and cause victims of charity fraud to be reluctant to make honest donations again. Even in cases where the funds weren’t directly stolen, those in need will have a more difficult time receiving the donations due to the actions of fraud.  


Need a Lawyer for Charity Fraud? 


The attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law are ready to work for you if you have been charged with charity fraud. With severe penalties including prison time, you should contact our attorneys immediately.  


As experienced fraud attorneys, we can work with you to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome for your case. Each fraud case is unique, and our lawyers will be able to advise you on each step you should take to protect yourself from even more severe penalties.  


Contact our Tampa, FL-based defense law firm today at (813) 280-1244 to set up a consultation so we can discuss your unique case and options further. 

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