New York Homeless Organization Caught in a Fraud Scandal
The United Homeless Organization in New York City has been called a scam because although it takes donations it does not operate any services to the homeless community. The operation works like this:
- The orgainizaiton owns hundreds of plastic jugs and tables that they loan to people - sometimes homeless and sometimes not.
- Renters stand on the streets of New York solicitating donations during the day.
- At the end of the day the renters give back the tables and jugs along with their $15 rental fee.
The jug renters who solicit money during the day get to keep all the money that they recieve during the day minus the $15 that they owe the U.H.O. - Thats the service that the U.H.O. is providing. If the renting soliciters collect more that $15 during the day they make a profit. If they make less than $15 they owe the difference.
The U.H.O. is being called a scam becasue it cals its self a nonprofit organization yet it collects considerable amount of money. I wish I could tell you how much but there are no financial records for this organization. The founder and president, Stephen Riley and the director, Myra Walker have been pocketing revenue. The U.H.O. has been making a couple donations: Unfortunately they have only been to the principals and workers, who "abuse the organization's tax-exempt status to line their own pockets."
The U.H.O. gives a fake legitimecy to panhandling.
They are a familiar sight on street corners across the five boroughs: Men and women standing behind folding card tables, urging passers-by to throw a little change into the empty plastic water jug marked “U.H.O.”
But an investigation by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo appears to have confirmed what many New Yorkers secretly (if somewhat guiltily) suspected all along: The United Homeless Organization, supposedly a nonprofit group set up to help feed and house the homeless, was actually an elaborate fraud.
According to a complaint filed by Mr. Cuomo [pdf] on Tuesday morning, U.H.O. does not operate a single shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry. It does not provide food or clothing to the homeless. It does not even donate money to other charities that do.