Monday, July 15, 2013

Corruption In The Salvation Army's Vehicle Donation Program

There are issues with The Salvation Army's vehicle donation program.  One Salvation Army Corp officer sold donated vehicles, pocketed the money and issued fraudulent letters of donated value to donors who may have used those fraudulent documents to take deductions when they filed their income tax returns.

The Salvation Army sells 500,000 donated vehicles annually, raising more than $250 million for the organization's coffers.  Corruption within this program is nationwide.  It is far to easy for corp officers to sell donated vehicles and pocket the money.  Because The Salvation Army wants you to keep donating vehicles and money, the organization conspires to cover up the illegal actions of its officers.

In Harlingen, Texas one Salvation Army officer accepted 18 vehicles from donors over one fiscal year.  One of those vehicles was sold by the Salvation Army, four were not in condition to be sold, one was repaired, using donated dollars, and given to The Salvation Army officer's daughter.  Thirteen of the vehicles were sold by The Salvation Army officer.  He pocketed the money and issued fraudulent letters to vehicle donors.

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to donate your vehicle to a non-profit organization for resale.  If you donate a vehicle the tax code allows you to take a deduction equal to the amount for which the vehicle is sold to its new owner.  The non-profit organization must send a letter to you indicating the amount for which the vehicle sold before you can legally take a deduction for the donated vehicle.

I was one of two people who audited the Harlingen Corp's vehicle donation program, so I have first hand knowledge of the issues related to that Corp and its Corp Officer.  What follows are some of the issues.

Thirteen of the vehicles in question were sold for an undetermined amount.  The amount of sale was never determined because the Corp Officer pocketed the money and refused to say how much he received from the sales.  We do know that the officer issued letters to the donors for sales values of some of the vehicles, ranging from $700 to $3,200.  These letters, even if the officer sold the vehicles for the amounts stated in the letters, were fraudulent since The Salvation Army, a non-profit organization, never received the money.

One vehicle was repaired, using dollars donated to the Corp by the public, and was being driven by the Corp Officer's daughter.  At the time I participated in the audit, title to the vehicle was still in the name of The Salvation Army.  A donor letter was issued, even though the vehicle was not actually sold.

The Corp Officer was not prosecuted.  No real attempt was made to quantify the amount he pocketed from his criminal actions. It's likely he never paid income taxes on the money he pocketed, which constitutes tax evasion on his part.  All of the letters he issued to donors were acts of fraud against the federal government, specifically The Internal Revenue Service.

At least three officers in The Texas Divisional Headquarters of The Salvation Army, Major Everett Wilson, Major Ken Johnson and Major James Taylor conspired to cover up the Harlingen Corp Officer's actions.  They conspired to cover up acts of fraud against the federal government.

The Salvation Army has a standard procedure of cover up when one of its black uniform wearing officers breaks the law.  There is a think black line of protection that covers up his/her actions.  If the officer's actions are known within the community, he/she is transferred to a new location where the officer can continue to prey on the unsuspecting, trusting public.

The think black line is there for all Salvation Army officers.  They all know it exists.  Even those who have not yet participated in cover up know the cover ups exist.  They turn their heads.  Somehow they all sleep well at night.  How is this possible?  Could it be that they all know the thin black line will be there for them if they ever need a cover up on their behalf? 

Sadly, your donations pay the cost of their cover up actions. Think twice before you donate to this corrupt organization.  Find a worthy charity for you dollars.
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