Legal Questions and Answers for the Horse Community

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Rachel Kosmal McCart
Please note that the following information is not intended to be legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Before relying on any information, you should contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state. See also BAEN's legal disclaimer. To submit a question for this column, email your question to Please identify yourself as well as any other parties involved so that we can be sure to avoid conflicts in interest in answering your question. We will keep all parties? identities confidential. By submitting your inquiry to this column, you grant permission for your inquiry to be published and for your inquiry to be edited for length, grammar or clarity. Due to space limitations, we cannot publish an answer to every question we receive, but we do try to provide an unpublished answer by email or telephone. View previous Q&A's in the Legal Solutions Archives.

Charity Fraud ?What You Can Do

Q: Equine Legal Solutions has received an unprecedented number of complaints about purported charitable organizations. The claims range from adopters of PMU horses who paid adoption fees and never received a horse to individuals who have loaned large sums of money to rescues?that misappropriated the funds. If you have been the victim of fraud, what can you do?

A: If you believe you have been defrauded by a non-profit organization (or someone pretending to have a charitable purpose), ELS strongly urges you to file a formal complaint with EACH of the following organizations. You may achieve better and more cost-effective results by filing criminal fraud complaints rather than civil lawsuits (which are time-consuming and costly). If you don't receive satisfactory results within a few months after filing your complaints, you may want to consider filing a civil suit.

How to File a Complaint

(1) Be sure to follow the instructions on the relevant website or telephone hotline.

(2) Keep a record of each complaint that you file, including the date and the name of any particular person that you spoke with.

(3) Be concise and factual in describing your complaint. It is most useful to see facts outlined in a timeline format - e.g., January 1, 2005 - [name of charity] sent solicitation for donations to me via [email/mail]; January 15, 2005 - I sent check for [$ amount] to [name of charity] at [address].

(4) Don't submit the actual correspondence or documentation until the agency asks for it - as a famous TV character once said, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Where to File a Complaint

About the Author: Rachel Kosmal McCart, the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, is a lifelong horsewoman and experienced lawyer. Equine Legal Solutions, the Legal Counsel with Horse Sense TM , offers a full range of legal services for the horse community, including dispute resolution, customized contracts and risk management assessment.
Copyright ©2008 Equine Legal Solutions and the Bay Area Equestrian Network. All rights reserved. The above article is the property of the Author and may not be duplicated or redistributed in any way without permission.