Monday, October 31, 2016

# 209 More questions for James Sheehan regarding CCF charity scam

Dear Mr Sheehan

Further to my previous correspondence.

I am writing from Cambodia - a country with no effective rule of law in which the rich and powerful can screw the poor and powerless with impunity; a country in which there is no government body that monitors the activities of fraudulent NGOs; a country in which human rights organisations, so quick to criticise corruption within the Cambodian government turn blind eyes to the illegal removal and detention of children from their families who, once labelled as 'orphans', can be used by unscrupulous NGO's to raise funds that are, ostensibly, used to provide institutional care for these children.

Some such funds, it would seem, have been raised by Scott Neeson and CCF in New York these past 5 years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that tax-exempt donations have been made in New York to the tune of millions of dollars. I am curious to know, and hope that colleagues within the media are curious to know, if sponsors and donors can legally claim Tax deductions if CCF is not registered in New York?

John & Cammie Rice: CCF donors

I am curious to know also if the fund-raising event scheduled to take place in New York City next week can proceed if CCF is not registered?

In the event that CCF does register this week, are there any consequences for the charity as a result of having been raising funds illegally this past 5 years?

yours sincerely

James Ricketson

Saturday, October 29, 2016

# 208 Scott Neeson's New York charity scam? Questions for Chad Williams & Colin Meyn

Dear Chad Williams & Colin Meyn

In the event that you decide, as editors of the Phnom Penh Post and Cambodia Daily respectively, to look a little more closely at the Cambodian Children’s Fund eligibility to solicit contributions in New York state, the following may be of interest.

From the Charities New York website:

“Make sure your organization is properly registered with the Attorney General's Charities Bureau and current in its annual financial filings.”
The Cambodian Children’s Fund is not registered with the Attorney General's Charities Bureau
“All solicitations must advise potential contributors that they may obtain a copy of the soliciting charitable organization's financial report from the Attorney General or from the organization itself.”

As journalists, Chad and Colin, you could ask both CCF and the New York Attorney General for copies of CCF’s financial reports for the past five years – if only to confirm what is clear from a five minute internet search: CCF is not registered.

§ 172. Registration of charitable organizations. 1. Every charitable organization, and any charitable organization registered or required to be registered pursuant to article eight of the estates, powers and trusts law, except as otherwise provided in section one hundred seventy-two-a of this article, which intends to solicit contributions from persons in this state or from any governmental agency shall, prior to any solicitation, file with the attorney general a prescribed registration form that includes, but is not limited to, the following information:
Does it matter to either of you that CCF is not registered in New York state as a charity?
Do sponsors of and donors to a charity that raises $10 million a year have a right to know that CCF is guilty of charity fraud in New York state?

Fast-forwarding down the page a little it is asked:

(g) Whether the organization is authorized by any other governmental authority to solicit contributions and whether it or any of its present officers, directors, executive personnel or trustees are or have ever been fined or otherwise penalized or enjoined from soliciting contributions or have been found to have engaged in unlawful practices regarding solicitation of contributions or administration of charitable assets and whether its registration or license has been suspended or cancelled by any court or other governmental agency together with the identity of such courts or governmental agencies and the reasons for such fine, penalty, injunction, suspension or cancellation.

James Mc Cabe’s conviction was not for charity fraud, of course, and it may be that James Sheehan is unconcerned about the “unlawful practices” ( drug ‘stings’) that resulted in a jail sentence!

Fast-forward a little further and you will find the following regarding the registration of a charity in New York state:

2. The registration form shall be signed under penalties for perjury by the president or other authorized officer and the chief fiscal officer of the organization.

You might ask, as journalists, whether the penalties for fraudulently soliciting money in New York are as serious as (or more serious than) the ‘perjury’ referred to here.

Another stipulation for registration of a charity in New York requires that the charity provide:
(i) A copy of its annual report, if any, for the immediately preceding fiscal year in accordance with the requirements of section one hundred seventy-two-b of this article.

Is it of any interest to you, as editors of the two most widely read English language newspapers in Cambodia, that Scott Neeson and CCF have breached 100% of their legal obligations, clearly expressed in Article 7-A, Executive Law, “Solicitation and Collection of Funds for Charitable Purposes”?
Is there any breach of the law, of professional ethics or of Neeson’s obligation to be transparent and accountable to donors, sponsors and the media that will induce either of you, as editors, to publish anything about CCF other than cut-and-paste stories gleaned from CCF press releases?

The full list of CCF’s legal responsibilities in the state of New York can be found at:



Friday, October 28, 2016

# 207 Scott Neeson's New York charity scam?

James G. Sheehan
NYSOAG Charities Bureau
120 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10271

Dear Mr Sheehan

I read with interest in the press a couple of weeks ago allegations that Donald Trump’s charity had been instructed, by the New York attorney general, to cease fund-raising because his foundation was violating state law by soliciting donations without proper authorization.”

I wonder if the same principle applies to all charities that fail to register in New York state to solicit money and hence avoid the “rigorous annual audits that New York state requires of charities that seek the public’s money”?

I am referring to a charity by the name of the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF).
John & Cammie Rice

CCF describes its status as a US charity on its website with the following:

“Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) is registered in the US as a 501(c)3 not-for-pro t organization no.20-0764162. Donations in the US are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. CCF is also registered in the State of California and the Kingdom of Cambodia." 

I have reason to believe that CCF is not registered to “seek the public’s money” in New York state. At least I have been unable to find any record that the Cambodian Children’s Fund is registered in your state. If I have made an error in this respect I trust that you will correct me.

The press report that I read (I have pasted the link below) quoted you as follows:

“The Trump Foundation must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York,” wrote James G. Sheehan, the head of the charities bureau in the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”

If the Cambodian Children’s Fund is likewise not registered in New York does the same apply to it? Must CCF cease its fund-raising activities?

I am copying this to Valerie Post, involved in raising money for CCF, in the event that she is unaware of CCF’s lack of authority to solicit donations in New York. I am copying this also to some Cambodia-based (and other) journalists who may have an interest in this matter.

I quote again from the article I read in the press:

“In addition, Sheehan wrote, the Trump Foundation was ordered to supply the state with all the legal paperwork necessary to register as a charity that solicits money within 15 days. Trump’s foundation must also look back and determine whether it violated state law in prior years by soliciting money without authorization, Sheehan wrote. If so, it must provide the financial audit reports it should have provided for those years. Those reports, Sheehan said, are also due within 15 days. If Trump’s foundation does not comply, Sheehan wrote, it will be considered ‘a continuing fraud upon the people of New York.’”

It is my understanding that the Cambodian Children’s Fund has raised millions of dollars in New York state in the past 5 years. If this charity is not registered in New York, CCF is practicing “a continuing fraud upon the people of New York”.

In the event that CCF has been registered in New York this past 5 years could you please point me to where I can find evidence of this registration?

yours sincerely

James Ricketson

Thursday, October 27, 2016

# 206 Questions for John & Cammie Rice - generous donors to the Cambodian Children's Fund

Dear John and Cammie Rice

You are generous donors to the Cambodian Children’s Fund. No doubt you believe that Scott Neeson and CCF are doing a good job lifting children out of poverty. And you have been to Cambodia often enough to have seen evidence of this with your own eyes. I wonder, however, if you have seen anything other than what Scott Neeson wants you to see? Arranges for you to see?

Over the past two years, in my role as a filmmaker, journalist and blogger, I have asked many questions of Scott and the CCF board about how donor and sponsor monies are spent. No answers are forthcoming.

I have pointed out on my blog, when information became available to me, where Scott Neeson has be parsimonious with the truth. The most glaring example of this is the ‘World Housing’ initiative that involved, Scott announced around the world, ‘gifting’ homes to poor families. This was intended to make the initiative attractive to sponsors and donors. Unfortunately, the houses have not been ‘gifted’ but have been rented to poor families.

This may not seem like a big deal – until, that is, you realize that between $0.5 million and $1 million worth of housing has been erected on land owned by someone within the CCF ‘family’. The owner (or owners) have had the value of their land increased from between half to a million dollars whilst sponsors and donors have been led to believe that the homes were given to poor families.

This is the most graphic example of the verbal sleights of hand (amongst other tricks) Scott practices to keep sponsors and donors reaching for their wallets.

Both Scott Neeson and the Cambodian Children’s Fund board refuse to reveal just who is the recipient of these 360 free houses. I wonder if you know? If no, perhaps you’d like to ask Scott?

Scott Neeson will present you with a long list of reasons why I cannot be trusted. His tactic, for several years now, has been to shoot the messenger. C’est la vie!

Just take a look at the series of questions I have asked of Samuel Robinson, Bob Alexander, Bob Tufts and Heather Graham this past week (CCF board members all)  and ask yourselves:

“Are these reasonable questions of the kind that sponsors and donors have a right to ask?”

And another:

“Why won’t Scott Neeson, Samuel Robinson or any members of the Cambodian Children’s Fund board answer questions such as these?”

And another:

“How does CCF account for the approximately $3 million in salary expenses for the financial year ending in 2015 that cannot be accounted for”

I will add a fourth question:

“Have either of you, John and Cammie, ever asked Scott questions along these lines?”

And a final one:

“Given that you are generous donors to the Cambodian Children’s Fund could you please recommend to Scott Neeson and the board that they be more transparent in accounting not only for the money you give to CCF but to the money provided to the NGO by other generous donors and sponsors?”

For a full list of the questions I believe sponsors and donors have a right to be given answers to can be found by working backwards from this message for Heather Graham.

best wishes

James Ricketson