Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) stated the following about an Asbury Park Press news investigation of an alleged Sandy charity from Sparta, boasting some $1 million in public donations:
The Asbury Park Press reported on Sunday that a Sparta couple created a Sandy relief fund, which is not registered to operate in New Jersey and admittedly does not have the federal 501(c)(3) status that it claimed on its website. The investigation revealed that fund has yet to distribute more than $800,000 in cash donations.
“Any attempt to deceive good-willed residents or business owners into funding a fake charity can be a serious criminal offense — attempting to capitalize off of Superstorm Sandy victims would be unforgivable and incomprehensible,” Oroho stated. “I have confidence in New Jersey’s Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs to investigate this or any other questionable Superstorm Sandy charities to determine any ill-intent or fraud. Sandy-related charities should be on notice that their financial records will be checked by state authorities.”
Senator Oroho urges people to visit the Division of Consumer Affairs’ online directory of registered charities or call its hotline (973) 504-6215 before donating any money. Charities whose annual income includes less than $10,000 in public donations are exempt from having to register with the state. To check federal tax-exempt statuses, search the Internal Revenue Service’s online database or call 877-829-5500.