A refugee racket, or two?

Here is a story from the UK this week that caught my attention, ‘Conman jailed for bogus charity cash claims.’   It seems this Rwandan asylee set up a bogus refugee group and persuaded charities to give him grants which he then used for his own high-flying lifestyle.

A PLYMOUTH man who conned the BBC’s Children in Need and the Big Lottery Fund out of thousands of pounds has been jailed.

Unemployed Kanyogota Sejojo swindled more than £18,000 out of the two national charities – and the Devon Community Foundation Fund – by making a series of bogus funding claims on behalf of a “false” charity.

Sejojo, aged 40, was sentenced to 19 months in prison on Tuesday.
In a statement issued on behalf of all three funding organisations, they said they welcomed the conviction.

“As the funders of charities affected by this criminal activity we very much welcome the sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court of Kanyogota Sejojo for fraudulently obtaining charitable funds by deception and misusing charitable funds,” the statement said.

We (and the Brits too!) are such suckers for anyone who says they are taking care of refugees.

The extent of his “systematic and well-organised” crime was uncovered during a lengthy and detailed investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Specialist and Economic Crime Command.

Sejojo, who came to the UK from Rwanda during the late 1990s as an asylum seeker, committed his offences between 2003 and 2004.

During these years he moved from London to Plymouth where he established a ‘charitable organisation’ called the Devon African Refugee Community Association.

This organisation had the stated aim of providing support and financial aid to refugees from his homeland.

The court heard how Sejojo made a series of successful funding bids to organisations including the Big Lottery Fund (£10,000), BBC Children in Need (£2,750) and the Devon Community Foundation Local Network Fund (£5,900).

But instead of spending the money on bona fide charity work, Sejojo used it to subsidise his own lifestyle and improve his social standing by appearing to be a benefactor to other asylum seekers.

Skipping over to the USA

I received an e-mail at RRW this week from someone looking for leads on grant money for a non-profit in Georgia.  But, the ACORN scam (and its mortgage projects and federal grant rip-offs) has made me so cynical, I don’t know if I believe this is a legit organization.  Here is the e-mail (I’ve left the woman’s name out), maybe a reader can tell me if this is for real.   Note from the website that they are geared to helping people in Haiti, so what gives with the Georgia connection?

My name is (blank), I am part of a non-profit organization(www.sonjeayiti.com). We have partnered with a financial consulting firm(fiducia Financial services) to do financial education for immigrants. We have visited several churches and been able to assist a lot with the mortgage crisis and others for free. We are located in Ga, and wanted to know what federal/states grants are available in GA to reach out to such vulnerable populations. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Makes me wonder if Wade Rathke has been doing some community organizing in Haiti!  The UK too!  And, by the way, it’s no longer “for free” when the taxpayers are asked to pay for the charitable work.

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