End of Year Giving

End of Year Giving

I just did another guest blogging spot — this time on The California Immigration Attorney. Geri Kahn has some interesting articles, so be sure to check it out!

Since there are two days left in the year for giving, here is some advice on how to do so safely.  And I would be remiss if I did not mention the National Black Prosecutors Foundation, which is nurturing the next generation of African American prosecutors through scholarships and paid internships.  Learn more here.

It’s the end of the year, and your inbox is flooded with charities seeking your donation. You may also be getting requests from crowdfunding sources such as GoFundMe. You want to be generous, as well as get the tax credit, but what should you do?

Earlier this year, much was made over Karla Lee, mother of murdered Chicago boy Tyshawn Lee, misusing funds earmarked for her young son’s funeral. $17,000 was raised after a public appeal to aid Lee in defraying the costs of her 9 year old son who was shot in November. Not long after, it was revealed that she bought a 2015 Chrysler 200. Criticism swirled on the internet; Lee responded by stating that she was afraid to walk the streets as a result of the shooting, and the car was needed to assure her safety. She claimed that of the $17,000 given to her, $13,000 remained in the account after paying funeral expenses. Lee also claimed that she used her own money to buy the car.

If she had misused the money, can she be arrested for theft, or an organized scheme to defraud? Technically — no. It has to be proven that at the time she asked for the funds, she had no intentions of the money being used for her son’s funeral. Also, since these donations came from a crowdfunding source via the Internet, requiring wire transfers, this could be a federal offense. But again, intent is the main issue. Obviously, the fact that she bought a brand new vehicle right around the time of the donations is suspicious, especially since she asked for money for Tyshawn’s funeral, yet had enough money to buy a new car.

This story, among others, can leave a bad taste in your mouth regarding crowdfunding causes. So in the future, what do you do?

Read more here.

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