California A.G. files cease & desist order against 3 large charities alleging donated medicine was overvalued

March 20, 2018, 5:00 am

As mentioned previously, the conflict over donated pharmaceuticals has heated up again. It seemed to have faded away over the last couple of years but has now gained renewed visibility.

The California Attorney General has filed cease and desist orders against three large, high-profile charities who received between 70% and 98% of their revenue from medical GIK.

A complaint was filed against another charity for overvaluation of GIK. That charity essentially conceded the accusations in a stipulated settlement, agreeing to terminate the charity’s existence. That action is discussed here.

The three large charities are Food for the Poor, Inc., MAP International, and Catholic Medical Mission Board, Inc.

The cease and desist orders can be found at the AG’s web site:

This is a long post, approaching 2,200 words. Might be worthwhile to get a fresh cup of coffee before diving in.

 

Background

This post will walk through a number of key comments in the cease and desist orders, which I’ll referred to as C&DO. Because the C&DO are roughly parallel to each other, I’ll walk through the MAP order and add comments on the CMMB and FftP order where it is helpful. The CMMB C&DO does not have the comments regarding state charitable filing requirements.

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Financial info for the 4 charities the California AG accuses of overvaluing donated medicine

March 14, 2018, 11:00 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For future reference, here is some select financial information on the charities that have been accused of overvaluing donated medicine.

In March 2018, the Attorney General of California filed cease and desist orders against three charities and a complaint against one.

The complaint was resolved with a stipulated judgment the same day the complaint was filed. Resolution? The National Cancer Coalition agreed to dissolve.

Listed in this post is some data from the most recent set of financial statements available at the charities’ web sites along with the 2015 info, which is the latest year cited in the cease-and-desist orders.

Since the cease-and-desist orders allege material misrepresentation in the audited financial statements, the auditor is also listed. Therefore this is an audit issue as well as an accounting issue.

I will make an educated guess that the 2017 financial statements for MAP and FffP will not be available until after the impact of the AG’s cease and desist action is assessed. Looking in from the outside, it seems to me like this issue would constitute a material subsequent event.

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California A.G. files complaint against a charity for overvaluation of donated medicine. That charity agrees to dissolve itself. Three other charities issued cease-and-desist order.

March 14, 2018, 8:51 am

(update: headline modified)

The conflict over donated pharmaceuticals has heated up again.

The California Attorney General has filed cease and desist orders against three large charities who received between 89% and 98% of their revenue from medical GIK.

Update:  Those percentages appear to include all GIK, not just medicines. For example, in 2015 Food for the Poor had $1,159M total income with $1,033M of donated goods, according to their audited financial statements. According to their 990 for 2015, of the total GIK $818.7M was drugs and medical supplies, $110.8M was clothing and household goods, with $103M of other GIK. For 2015 donated drugs and medical supplies are 70.6% of total support and revenue.

Update: For MAP in 2015, total drugs and medical supplies from Schedule M of the 990 ties to the donated inventory on the audited financial statements. The only other GIK listed on Schedule M are securities, which amount ties to the financial statements. For 2015, donated drugs and medical supplies are 97.8% of total revenue and support.  Likewise for CMMB, the drugs and medical supplies listed on Schedule M ties to the line donated pharmaceuticals, equipment and supplies on the audited financial statements. For 2015, donated drugs and medical supplies are 90% of total support and revenue.

A complaint was filed against another charity, National Cancer Coalition, for overvaluation of GIK. The charity conceded the state’s claims and agreed to terminate the charity’s existence.

The three large charities are Food for the Poor, MAP International, and Catholic Medical Mission Board.

The cease and desist orders can be found at the AG’s web site:

Actions regarding the charity closing its doors:

This post will describe the complaint against NCC and the stipulated judgment.

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Who might want to look more closely at the four paragraph summary of valuation issues in the FTC complaint against four charities? 13

August 12, 2015, 7:54 am
Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, DC. - Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, DC. – Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

There are four paragraphs in the FTC complaint against four cancer charities that summarizes the issues raised by the FTC. These paragraphs cover the main issues about valuation of GIK that have been under discussion in the NPO world for several years now.

These issues do not just apply to the four named charities.

The issues are not limited to the secular cancer charities.

These issues actually apply to a large number of high visibility religious charities. The issues may have drop out of news coverage, but they have not gone away.  I hope those who have ears that are able to hear, will hear.

Who might want to take a second look at the FTC’s summary?

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Details on FTC enforcement action against four cancer charities – 12

August 10, 2015, 7:09 am
Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, DC. - Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, DC. – Picture courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

This is the twelfth in a series of posts diving into the detail mentioned in the complaint by FTC and all Attorneys General against four named cancer charities.

This is the fourth post on a series of paragraphs in the complaint addressing valuation of donated medicine.

The complaint can be found here. My posts in this series are visible using the FTC tag.

  1. By reporting these GIK transactions as contributed revenue and program expenses, at inflated values, Corporate Defendants represented themselves to be both larger and more efficient than they actually were. They obscured the high percentage of donated funds spent on, among other things, for-profit fundraisers, executive salaries, and employee perks, and concealed the very small amounts spent on the charitable purposes described to donors. As a result, the Forms 990 and other documents filed by Corporate Defendants with the IRS and state regulators, and made publicly available to consumers, were false and misleading.

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Details on FTC enforcement action against four cancer charities – 11

August 3, 2015, 7:05 am

 

Marble panel on FTC building in DC. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Marble panel on FTC building in DC. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

This is the eleventh in a series of posts diving into the detail mentioned in the complaint by FTC and all Attorneys General against four named cancer charities.

This is the third post on comments in the complaint addressing valuation at an overall level.

The complaint can be found here. My posts in this series are visible using the FTC tag.

On the impact of the allegedly misstated information: Read the rest of this entry »


Details on FTC enforcement action against four cancer charities – 10

July 29, 2015, 9:09 am
Marble panel on FTC building in DC. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Marble panel on FTC building in DC. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

This is the tenth in a looooong series of posts diving deep into the detail mentioned in the complaint by FTC and all Attorneys General against four named cancer charities.

The complaint can be found here. My posts in this series are visible using the FTC tag.

This is the second post discussing allegations in the complaint asserting that the financial statements of the charities were misstated. Four paragraphs summarize the problems the FTC has with the accounting for donated medicines.

  1. Corporate Defendants obtained the paperwork they used to claim these figures for just the cost of the payment to INTERMEDIATE (which included both INTERMEDIATE’s fees and shipping costs). For example, in connection with a 2011 shipment to Guatemala, CFA reported contributed revenue and corresponding program expense of over $8 million, but only paid INTERMEDIATE a fee of $50,550. For one 2010 shipment to Ghana for which CCFOA reported contributed revenue and program expense of over $3.8 million, CCFOA paid INTERMEDIATE just $39,960. In addition, for a 2011 shipment to Honduras for which BCS reported contributed revenue and program expense of at least $3.8 million, BCS paid INTERMEDIATE just $28,120. Although Corporate Defendants used such transactions to add hundreds of millions of dollars in program expenses to their financial reports, these “programs” existed entirely on paper. Corporate Defendants did not possess the goods and played no role in their overseas distribution. They hired no additional staff to manage these multimillion-dollar international GIK programs and in most instances spent virtually no staff time on them. In addition, the very high dollar values associated with these transactions largely resulted from overvalued pharmaceuticals.

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