A new national database lists regulators’ enforcement actions against charities and solicitors. The database (http://charitysearch.apps.cironline.org/
) is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, based in Berkeley, Calif.
The Tampa Bay Times broke the story of John Donald Cody, aka Bobby Thompson, and his scam charity, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. Cody is in jail awaiting prosecution by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in Cuyahoga County for fraud and the theft of millions solicited on the pretense the contributions would benefit veterans.
Donors are always encouraged to research charities before making contributions to unfamiliar groups. The Research Charities function on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Charities
provides basic information filed by charities, indicates if the organization is compliant with filing obligations, and provides other tips. Checking the new national database will reveal whether state regulators have taken enforcement actions against the organization.