Fake autism charity escapes severe punishment from courts

Lana Bandoim's picture
autism

Charities have provided valuable support for people with autism and their families, but there are fake organizations that mar the goals of legitimate programs. A recent scandal in Massachusetts involving a police dispatcher running a fake charity for autism has added to the frustration. Unfortunately, the people who wanted to see justice in this case may be surprised by the outcome.

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Richard Greenaway Jr. was accused of running a fake charity under the name of Paintballers 4 Autism. He also had a job as a Massachusetts police dispatcher and was responsible for encouraging other paintball enthusiasts to help people with autism. However, he never donated any money to an autistic person or other organization, and prosecutors believe he used all of it for personal expenses.

Despite multiple efforts, no one has been able to figure out exactly how much Richard Greenaway Jr. stole from his own charity. The suggestions have ranged from $5,000 up to $9,000 over the course of several years. He has tried to explain that some of the money was taken by thieves, so he is not sure about the amount.

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Greenaway has been ordered to pay $2,000 to the autism charities he listed in his goals. However, he has only donated $25 and has not made other payment arrangements. This has angered some members of the autism community because he could have been asked to pay back $25,000 and spent five years in jail.

There were several clues about the charity being fake that should serve as a warning to people who are thinking of donating to another fundraiser. First, Paintballers 4 Autism was never registered with the IRS, and legitimate nonprofits do not ignore this step. Second, he had problems proving money was actually sent to Community Resources for People with Autism or Autism Speaks. At one point, he falsified records by creating a fake police report. It is important to do research on any charity you are considering and ask questions before donating.

Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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