The Charities Regulator has secured a prosecution against Mr Oliver Williams from County Galway in relation to “Twist Charity”. Mr. Williams was prosecuted under the Charities Act, 2009 for misrepresenting “Twist Charity” as a registered charitable organisation when this is not the case. He was also prosecuted for advertising, requesting and accepting donations for an unregistered charitable organisation.
“I have taken this action to protect the public and all properly registered charities,” said Farrelly. “In this case, Mr Williams had never registered this or any of his businesses as charities but was taking money from the public on the basis that he was operating a charity. As Regulator I had no choice but to prosecute."
The Regulator is mindful of the beneficiaries of the organisation and is working with a local charity to ensure that any necessary support is available to them. “We will continue to apply the law without fear or favour in order to protect the good work of the thousands of good people in registered charities throughout Ireland” Mr. Farrelly stated.
This prosecution comes as a result of work conducted by the Regulator’s compliance unit in November and December last year. Following concerns received in relation to the operation of an unregistered charity – “Twist Charity” the Regulator pursued certain lines of enquiry in examining the matter. The case was heard in Sligo District Court under presiding Judge Kilrane.
The Register of Charities is publicly available through charitiesregulator.ie so any member of the public can confirm whether they are dealing with a real charity. Concerns about an organisation can be raised with the Regulator by calling the Concerns phone line on 01 6331550 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All concerns received by the Charities Regulator will be dealt with in confidence subject to any legal duty of disclosure.
All charitable organisations operating in Ireland must be registered or have submitted an application to be registered with the Charities Regulator.
Section 41 (1) of the Charities Act, 2009 states that it is an offence for anyone to (a) advertise on behalf of a charitable organisation that is not registered or deemed to be registered; (b) invite members of the public to give money or property to a charitable organisation that is not registered or deemed to be registered; (c) accept a gift of money or other property on behalf of a charitable organisation that is not registered or deemed to be registered.
Section 46 (1) and (2) of the Charities Act, 2009 state that it is an offence (1) to hold out a body that is not registered as being registered; (2) for a body (other than a registered charitable organisation) to describe itself or its activities in such terms in any notice, advertisement, promotional literature or any other published material as would cause members of the public to reasonably believe that it is a charitable organisation.