Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A warning from the state about a charity asking for your money. Emmanuel Outreach Temple solicits in the names of several groups, but can you be sure where the money goes?
In a word "no". The state Office of Consumer Affairs says Emmanuel Outreach Temple doesn't have the exempt status the law requires to solicit donations in Virginia.
"Don't be fooled just because there's police, fire or veterans in the name," said Mike Wright of the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs.
Wright and the state Office of Consumer Affairs are Virginia's advocates in operation false charity. A new nationwide effort led by the Federal Trade Commission to crackdown on fraudulent telemarketers. Virginia is now warning the public about a group called Emmanuel Outreach Temple.
"They're soliciting in the name of veterans, fire fighters, peace officers, reserve police officers, children in hospitals, (and) helping the elderly. There's about 15 different names and they've hit all of the heart strings that they can," Wright said.
Emmanuel Outreach Temple is located in La Habra, California but uses an address in Michigan. It also solicits using the name "National Coalition of Disabled Firefighters."
Consumer Affairs has sent the temple a warning because it has not registered with the state or been given exempt status required by law.
"We're actually warning the public that their contribution may be used for non-charitable purposes in this case because we don't know what they're doing with these funds," said Wright.
The state isn't claiming that Emmanuel Outreach Temple isn't doing the work it claims to be doing but since it's failed to register, the state can't help the public know what the group does with the money it collects.
"They can be doing this legally, but in fact they may only spend 10 cents or 20 cents out of your hard earned dollar on actually helping somebody. That's why you've gotta do your research," he said.
You can verify that an organization is registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs by going to their Charitable Search www.vdacs.virginia.gov/consumers/index.shtml.