Money raised by an organisation falsely claiming to be a registered charity has been transferred to a charity with similar aims, according to the Charity Commission inquiry report.
The Commission opened a statutory inquiry into Global Welfare Project in 2014 and published its report at the end of last week, saying there had been “serious failings”.
Global Welfare Project’s website had claimed it was a registered charity, but the charity number it used was that of another charity.
It was asking for donations to support it work in various countries including Syria. But it is a breach of charity law to ask for money when to falsely claiming to be a registered charity. The website has now been removed.
Some £15,000 in the organisation’s bank accounts has now been transferred to another organisation.
The Commission had been alerted to the organisation by police who asked if the organisation was a charity.
It opened a statutory inquiry in May 2014 and shortly afterwards the police arrested five individuals for fraud by false representation, which meant the Commission placed its investigation on hold.
In 2016 the Commission was told that the police did not intend to charge any individuals and it resumed its investigation.
The Commission concluded that trustees “fell short” by allowing a misleading website to exist and not keeping adequate financial records, though it said they co-operated with the inquiry.
In 2014 the Commission froze the organisation’s bank account and in April 2018 ordered that the money be transferred to a similar charity.
Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Charity Commission said: “Charities rightly have special status within our society. Our report makes clear that those individuals who held funds on behalf of the organisation were trustees of charitable funds with the duties of charity trustees. We found that they failed to monitor and fully account for the funds that were applied which is why we intervened to ensure the remaining funds are properly applied. This case serves as a reminder to trustees of charitable funds, that they must comply with charity law, and their behaviour has an impact on public trust and confidence in the charity sector.”