Saturday, December 9, 2006

Fund-raising scam exposed

KUALA LUMPUR: Armed with documents, photographs and newspaper clippings of prominent people giving donations to charity, Chong Pit Lye, 27, set out to raise funds for a children’s welfare home.

By persuading the public to donate RM30 to RM50 each “for a tin of milk for the handicapped children,” she collected RM16,000 from August until last month.

She then met a disabled person at Batu Caves who alleged that what she was doing was wrong and wanted to report her to the police.

It dawned on her then that the money was not going to charity.

She cried and told the disabled person not to report her.

Yesterday, Pit Lye decided to expose the scam at the office of MCA Complaints and Public Services Department head Datuk Michael Chong.

She said it started when she responded to an advertisement in a Chinese newspaper that offered the post of a sales personnel with a monthly salary of RM1,600.

Following an interview, the company gave her an official tag and the file with documents and photographs to help her canvass for funds.

There was also an enclosed letter, purportedly from the Handicap Children’s Welfare Home in Ipoh that allowed dealers like her to collect public funds.

The home later denied that they had appointed any third party to solicit donations on its behalf.

After her meeting with the disabled person in Batu Caves, Pit Lye filed a police report at the Serdang police station against the company.

When her employers found out, they made a counter-report that she had stolen some documents from the company because of a commission dispute.

Chong thanked Pit Lye for coming forward and urged those who work with such companies to also come forward to tell their stories.

He called on the relevant authorities to enforce clear guidelines on public fund-raising and to act against errant companies.

He said it was a serious matter and must be stopped. “It is first-class professional begging,” he added.

Chong advised the public to directly send a cheque to the charity organisations concerned if they wanted to make donations, and not through third parties.

“Do not respond,” he advised, adding that the best thing to do when approached for such contributions was to refuse to give any money.

The Star


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