Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Charitable Law Section investigates charitable fraud and pursues enforcement actions to help recover misused charitable funds, stop fraudulent activity, and protect donors and charities.
Recent enforcement actions include:
- Matthew Anthony Geraci agreed to dissolve his nonprofit, Lord’s Community, according to a February assurance of discontinuance. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section found that Geraci had breached his fiduciary duties of care, failed to properly manage accounts for the nonprofit, and failed to comply with other requirements of Ohio’s charitable laws. Under the assurance, Geraci agrees that for a period of five years, he will not do the following: form a nonprofit in Ohio; hold any position as an officer, trustee, employee, or agent of a charity in Ohio; or solicit for a charitable purpose in Ohio.
- Lisa Roush entered into an assurance of discontinuance in February, agreeing not to hold a position with a charitable organization in Ohio, not to solicit for charitable purposes in Ohio, and to dissolve Meigs Athletic Booster Inc., of which Roush was the incorporator and president. Roush previously was convicted of theft, sentenced to community control, and ordered to pay restitution in connection with her conduct as the organization’s president.
- Marilyn Sloan, who previously held positions with the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank and the Logan Service Unit of the Salvation Army, entered into an assurance of discontinuance, agreeing not to hold a position with a charity in Ohio and not to solicit for any charitable purpose in Ohio. An Attorney General investigation determined that Sloan had breached her fiduciary duties of care, resulting in loss and other damage to charitable beneficiaries.
- The Wickliffe Elementary PTO agreed to undergo training by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and to amend its bylaws to provide additional oversight and controls for handling of cash proceeds, according to a January 2017 assurance of discontinuance. An Attorney General investigation found that certain prior board members and officers had failed to properly manage accounts and act in the best interest of the organization.
- Peace in the Hood, its executive director, and its program director entered into an assurance of discontinuance, agreeing to undergo board governance training, adopt internal financial controls, and adopt record management policies. An Attorney General investigation found that the group had failed to keep true records of charitable solicitation activities, breached fiduciary duties of care, and failed to register as a charity with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
- Peninsula Art Academy entered into a settlement agreement in January. Under the settlement, the organization agreed to restructure its board of directors and maintain accurate records of income and expenses, among other provisions.
- Destry J. Rush, a former treasurer of IAFF #312 in Youngstown, entered into an assurance of discontinuance in December 2016, agreeing not to incorporate any nonprofit in Ohio for five years nor hold any position as an officer, trustee, or employee of any charitable organization in Ohio for five years. In 2014, Rush was charged with theft for misappropriating funds belonging to IAFF #312 and using the funds for his own benefit.
- Andrea Maddox, who had served as treasurer of the Madison Softball Association from 2009 to 2014, agreed not to work for or solicit for a charity in Ohio for five years, according to an October 2016 assurance of discontinuance. Maddox was found to have used charitable assets for her own benefit. Maddox previously was sentenced to community control in Lake County Common Pleas Court for related charges.
- Martin Mosti, a professional solicitor in Cincinnati, agreed to comply with Ohio’s charitable solicitation laws and pay a $1,000 fine, according to a September 2016 assurance of discontinuance. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section determined that Mosti had failed to properly register, failed to file timely financial reports, and failed to maintain true records for solicitation activities he conducted in Ohio.
- Kevin J. Wolverton was sentenced to two years of community control for pretending to have cancer and keeping money from a fundraiser for his cancer treatments. The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section helped investigate the case, which was prosecuted by the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.
- Julie Larish and her charity, RJ Ranch, entered into an August 2016 assurance of discontinuance to increase the organization’s board oversight and improve its handling of donations and expenses. An investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section identified problems with the organization’s account management and record of solicitation activities.
To determine whether an organization has registered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or to report questionable charitable activity, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.