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Is merely claiming to have a non-profit organization on a social network page while not officially having it considered illegal?

San Diego, CA |

Someone I know who has been engaging in fraud of a different type opened a fake non-profit site in one of the social networks, but after I did an extensive search for it in many nationwide databases, there was no record of such non-profit. I later confirmed that it does not exist, but only on a social network. Is there anything illegal about this action? I mean sin't this sort of like duping people by collecting money when there is no record of that non-profit. What other reasons could one pretend to have a non-profit that's not official? After all, they won't pay any taxes on the donations, so why not officially have one? I am not familiar with business law, so trying to understand to what extent claiming to have a non-profit that's not registered, but merely on a social network is wrong?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

The situation that you have described regarding this non-existent non-profit organization definitely has the smell of fraud and obtaining money by false pretenses, to the extent that people are fooled and make contributions in reliance on those lies. In addition to contacting the IRS, you may wish to contact the FBI, as interstate commerce is undoubtedly affected by internet solicitations of contributions (i.e., wire fraud).

The answer to this question does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Moreover, this attorney is licensed to practiced law ONLY in the State of California. Answers to questions from users in other jurisdictions or states are meant to provide only general information. Users should contact a local attorney in their jurisdiction or state to address their specific tax issue.

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Posted

What you have described constitutes violation of a variety of criminal laws and would subject the perpetrator to civil liability, as well.

This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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1 comment

Richard Gordon Stack

Richard Gordon Stack

Posted

The situation that you have described regarding this non-existent non-profit organization definitely has the smell of fraud and obtaining money by false pretenses, to the extent that people are fooled and make contributions in reliance on those lies. In addition to contacting the IRS, you may wish to contact the FBI, as interstate commerce is undoubtedly affected by internet solicitations of contributions (i.e., wire fraud).

Posted

As the previous attorney stated this does seem like fraud. However, you should also add what type of specific wording they are using because this person could be slick enough to use the right type of wording to keep himself out of trouble. You could report him to the IRS or local authorities. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Isai Bismark Cortez, Esq. www.bismarktax.com Office 855-829-6055 DISCLAIMER: THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. THIS IS GENERAL INFORMATION AND LAWS VARY FROM STATE TO STATE. PLEASE CHECK WITH A LOCAL ATTORNEY OR CONTACT THE IRS OR STATE TAXING AUTHORITY WITH ANY QUESTIONS.

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Asker

Posted

There is no wording, sir. It's an official Facebook page opened under "non-profit' organization option. it is not registered. The person simply opened it on FB, has his site under that non-profit title and when you visit his site, he has a donation button in it.

Isai Bismark Cortez

Isai Bismark Cortez

Posted

That's where the gray line comes into play. For example if you have a little league softball team that you're promoting on Facebook, then you're technically a nonprofit. If you sell lemonade or take donations to buy uniforms you really aren't crossing too many lines. You have to give me more facts of the specific fraudulent activity.

Asker

Posted

Ok thanks. The person promotes his art by directing the viewers of that official FB non-profit organization page to his personal site where he has a donation button there. In his personal site he accepts donations. But this Facebook non profit organization is not registered for sure. He simply pretends to have it to collect money from people under the non-profit pretexts. Is this helpful? He did not write anything on that official FB page about the non-profit, simply has his website there under the title so if you'd like to donate money to that "non-profit organization" you go to his site and click on donation. Aren't all non-profits need to be registered with the IRS? This person also has committed marriage fraud for green card.

Posted

Report to authorities

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