New law cracks down on charity scams Garin Flowers, First Coast News
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Starting a charity to benefit cancer patients is noble. What authorities accuse Jacques-Albert Calixte of doing is not.
Calixte started the Haitian American Association against cancer. He was billing the Department of Health for cancer screenings meant to help the Haitian community. Instead the Florida Department of Financial Services says he pocketed that money.
"These screenings were never actually taking place," said Chris Cate, spokesman for DFS.
"When an audit began it was quickly uncovered that fraud was taking place...billing invoices were looked at, doctors were called, they tried to seek out these alleged women that were being assisted."
The website for his non-profit is still up and running - even the option to donate, but probably wouldn't be wise to do so.
Among the new laws in Florida – is one that puts tighter restrictions on charities, especially ones that get the big bucks.
Kim Moore helped put together a non-profit institute at Tallahassee Community College. They're helping educate non-profits on state law.
"Communicating what those laws are, what those changes are and what the expectation is," Moore said.
Mostly, the new charity law:
- Bans telemarketers with criminal backgrounds from calling for donations.
- Puts a ban on businesses in Florida that have been banned in other states.
- And, requires charities to post details about their earnings and services online, for consumers to see.
"Every non-profit has that board of directors and in turn they have those donors which are stakeholders and they need to be accountable to them," Moore said.