New York Politician Sent to Jail for Five Years in Charity Scam

Miguel Martinez, a former New York City council member, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for misappropriating funds intended for nonprofit groups in his Manhattan district, The New York Times reports.

Mr. Martinez pleaded guilty to three felony counts in July, just after he resigned from the council amid an investigation of council members’ distribution of funds to community groups.

He admitted to pocketing $55,000 that was intended to support the Washington Heights Art Center and the Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors.

Boston Foundation Notifies Donors of $30-Million Accounting Mistake

The Boston Foundation overstated the value of funds it manages for about 900 donors by some $30-million over the summer, reports The Boston Globe.

The average 8-percent overstatement in account balances resulted from of an accounting error, based on information supplied by the foundation’s asset manager, State Street Corporation. It was caught during a routine audit of the foundation’s books.

The mistake did not affect the amount the Boston organization gave to nonprofit groups — about $86-million in the last fiscal year — but it did prompt the foundation to write to donors, warning them of mistakes in their philanthropic accounts.

Gunman Convicted in 2006 Shooting Spree at Seattle Jewish Charity

A Washington man was convicted Tuesday in the July 2006 shooting at the offices Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that left one person dead and six wounded, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Naveen Haq, 34, was found guilty of first-degree murder in his second trial and will receive an automatic life term in prison.

Pam Waechter, a 58-year-old federation employee, was killed in the attack. Mr. Haq’s first trial in spring 2008 ended in a mistrial.

Judge Halts Solicitations by New York Homelessness Charity

A New York judge on Tuesday ordered a charity that seeks to aid the homeless to stop soliciting donations on New York City sidewalks, pending the outcome of a state lawsuit against the group, says The New York Times.

Andrew M. Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, sought the injunction against the United Homeless Organization, which his office says is a sham charity whose leaders use the money it raises for personal expenses rather than services for the homeless. The organization has been operating fund-raising tables at 50 New York locations,

The fund-raising ban granted by state Supreme Court Justice Barbara R. Kapnick will remain in effect at least until a hearing is held on the case in January.

Officials of the organization have not commented in public on the charges

U.K. Plugs Charity Tax Loophole for Wealthy

British Treasury officials moved Tuesday to close a charity tax break for wealthy individuals they say is used more to avoid taxes than to aid nonprofit groups, the Times reports.

Current law allows the country’s wealthiest taxpayers to take a 40-percent deduction on donations of cash, stock shares, or other assets to charity. Authorities say that rule has prompted promotions encouraging rich people to buy foreign shares at a discount, donate them, and claim tax relief on their full value.

Charities welcomed the crackdown, saying they usually do not benefit from such donations because the offshore entities that control the shares retain an option to buy them back later.

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