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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Autism "Charity" in Oregon

Scams plague the world of autism. Some involve shady providers. Some proffer quack cures.  Some rip off people who want to donate money to a worthy cause. The Oregonian reports:
A charity under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice has continued to advertise for paid fundraisers in the Portland-Vancouver area four months after telling state prosecutors it was shutting down.

In June, saying Olympia-based Autism Awareness United appeared to have broken state laws, DOJ threatened legal action if the organization did not agree to stop raising money in Oregon. However, as of Friday, the group had not signed any agreement, and according to autism activists, has continued to raise money from Oregonians using paid fundraisers who set up tables outside supermarkets and other stores.

The state's investigation turned up receipts showing the nonprofit's debit card was used to pay for meals, cocktails, Chianti and other, unidentified expenses at a local casino. While not illegal, such expenses raise questions with charity oversight experts about a group's effectiveness. Meanwhile, Autism Awareness spent just 3 percent of its funds from late 2010 through early 2012 on direct assistance to needy families or autism-related agencies, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian under public records law.