NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York attorney general announced an investigation Wednesday into an online fundraising platform accused of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for donations to charities.
“So where did all that money go?” Erica Young, the PTA president asked.
Young is PTA president at P.S. 110 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The elementary school has nearly 600 students and heavily relies on donations to fund almost all of its arts programs.
“We have a pretty hefty budget and we rely on the ease of online donations to make it easier for parents to give,” Young said.
For the past four years the PTA has been using nycharities.org – a third party website that processes donations for thousands of nonprofits.
“Reputable, here in New York City, never an issue,” Young explained.
Until earlier this month, Erica realized the PTA never received any of its online donations from the students’ big end of year fundraiser.
“Our last deposit from them was May 8 and then they continued to run 138 transactions totaling about $10,000 on our behalf in the months of May and June.”
This is one of more than 100 complaints the New York Attorney General’s office says it’s received for nycharities in recent months.
With claims of unpaid contributions ranging from $200 to more than $100,000.
“They literally took money from schools and children and people in need.”
The nycharities.org web page only elicits an error message and its phone number goes straight to voicemail.
“No response to email no response to phone call and they’re gone,” Young added.
Young says the PTA’s insurance was actually able to cover all the missing donation money, but she worries this will make it even harder for them to raise money in the future.
“We have signed up with a new platform but originally we had 30 monthly donors; now only three people have signed up again,” the president explained.
Any impacted charities are urged to contact the attorney general’s office during its investigation.
For more information how to file your own complaint about a suspicious charity click here