Legal Question in Technology Law in Louisiana

Unauthorized solicitation of donations over the internet

Someone is a volunteer for a junior golf program, called the 1st Tee, which is supported and sanctioned by the PGA of America. The First Tee program is a charitable organization under IRS code 501(c)(3). This volunteer solicits donations online on behalf of the First Tee, though he is not authorized to do so. He has golf equipment donated and golf club components donated to build clubs for kids. He does give clubs and other equipment to these kids and builds some clubs, but over the years he accumulates a personal inventory of donated items that are never given to the First Tee. They are still in his garage after 5 years. The First Tee does not even know that the clubs he is giving kids are from donations that he solicited over the internet. They believe that these are excess inventory items belonging to him personally that he no longer wants. Two issues are involved here. First he has no authority to solicit on behalf of the charity, even though he gives some of the donations to the kids. Second, he has inventory of donated items that he's not turned over to the First Tee charity program. Has he broken any laws and, if so, what are they?

Thank you.

Asked on 1/24/09, 7:14 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's

Re: Unauthorized solicitation of donations over the internet

Mr. Tracy is correct that this activity could very well be criminal. It also gives rise to civil causes of action for First Tee and possibly others. You can contact me if you want more information, and we have an office in New Orleans.

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Answered on 1/25/09, 6:19 pm
Patrick Tracy Patrick J. Tracy, Esq, P.E.,

Re: Unauthorized solicitation of donations over the internet

There are two issues. First misrepresentation of the charity and second, the intent of conversion of goods. Both can be either felonies or misdemeanors depending on state law and the amount of funds or goods involved.

I am not licensed in Louisiana, therefore I cannot give you the specifics of the case. If there are doubts, contact the local district attorney to assist you. He will review the case and, if warranted will pursue the matter.

Good luck!

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Answered on 1/25/09, 7:00 am

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