Trio of Organisations Lose Charity Status Following Investigation
6 October 2017 at 9:19 am
A charity run by convicted money launderer Carl Trad has had its charity status revoked by the national charity regulator, following investigations into its activities and operations.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission announced the Australian Multicultural Christian Society, as well as the Australian Aerial Patrol (City Of Wollongong Aerial Patrol Inc) and Gay and Lesbian Community Services SA (GLCS Group Incorporated), had lost their charity status.
All three organisations will lose access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions following the revocation.
They now have 60 days to object to the ACNC’s decision, in which case they will be reviewed internally.
Acting ACNC commissioner David Locke, said revoking a charity’s status was “reserved for the most serious of cases”.
“In instances where our investigations find minor breaches of the ACNC Act or Governance Standards, we work with the charity to resolve these issues with education, guidance and support,” Locke said.
“However, when we find serious breaches of the ACNC Act or governance standards, or mismanagement, we will take firm action, including revocation of charity status.
“Revoking a charity’s status is reserved for the most serious of cases and results in the loss of generous Commonwealth charity tax concessions. Revoked charities are also no longer able to display the ACNC’s Registered Charity Tick.”
According to the Australian Business Register, the New South Wales-based Australian Multicultural Christian Society, has been operating since August 2012.
It was founded by Trad, a car dealer who spent more than three years in prison in the early 1990s for money laundering.
The decision to revoke the society’s charity status, which has been backdated to 21 June 2017, comes after the NSW government demanded the charity repay $10,000 of public money, in December 2016.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet wrote to the organisation revoking a grant, awarded under the Community Building Partnerships program, which the charity claimed was for a van to feed homeless people.
Meanwhile the Australian Aerial Patrol, which conducted beach safety patrols to alert swimmers to the presence of sharks for more than 50 years, has been subject to a series of investigations into fraud and misappropriation of funds.
In April 2016 the Aerial Patrol’s main sponsor, Bendigo Bank, withdrew funding after the resignation of the chief pilot and engineer, who both claimed they had not been paid.
The website for the Australian Aerial Patrol is currently suspended.
The ACNC said it was prevented from disclosing further details about any of the revocations due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act.
Locke encouraged members of the public to raise concerns about charities with the ACNC.
“We receive over 100 concerns about charities each month,” Locke said.
“Many of these concerns are raised by members of the public and provide the ACNC with vital information to help us with our enquires.
“I encourage members of the public to raise any concerns with the ACNC by calling 13 ACNC or by visiting acnc.gov.au/raiseaconcern.”
For more information about the ACNC’s compliance activity, including the full list of charities that have had their registrations revoked following compliance investigations see here.
Pro Bono News contacted Trad and the Australian Aerial Patrol for comment.