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Auditors accuse 2 nonprofits of misusing federal grants

A recent report from an Energy Department watchdog group is accusing two Maryland nonprofit groups of overcharging the government in a fraudulent manner. The report claims that Maryland Energy Conservation and C&O Conservation have received $1.5 million in unsupported, prohibited or improper reimbursements in connection with federal grant money meant to be used to weatherize low-income homes.

The federal auditors claim that the funds meant to be used to weatherize homes was used make donations to a company's founder's child's school, to pay personal credit card bills and make improvements to a director's home. The Inspector General noted that the review highlighted oversight problems. He noted that personal responsibility was at the core of the issue.

One of the company's founders noted that he thought that the company was handling the accounting matters. He says that it was an issue with the state's monitoring that led to the issue. His company is being blamed for the majority of the misused funds.

The funds that were noted as being misused could have helped to weatherize 100 more homes in the state. While the government has barred the two companies from doing business with the federal government for three years, the possibility of civil and criminal charges still exists.

In cases such as this, learning that you are being accused of fraudulent actions can be a difficult realization. That is especially true if you thought you were handling funds in a proper manner. When a situation like this arises, you have to determine how you will defend yourself against the accusation of theft by fraud.

Source: The Washington Post, "Two Md. nonprofits overcharged U.S. government, misused grant money, auditors say," Josh Hicks, Aug. 04, 2015

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