Rip-off professional fundraisers – on BBC Radio 5 live

  1. On 20 December 2015, I appeared again as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. The programme revisited charity scams involving professional fundraisers with excessive fundraising costs. This was a follow-up to its November 2014 programme when I also came into the studio (see my 10 November 2014 post).
  2. This time 5 live Investigates used my investigation of the “charity” Our Brave Heroes (see my 26 October 2015 post), which also appeared in The Daily Mirror (see my 19 November 2015 post). Presenter Adrian Goldberg interviewed live on air the Blackpool man behind the fake charity, Kristofer Sutcliffe. It didn’t end well for Mr Sutcliffe.
  3. You can listen to yesterday’s episode of 5 live Investigates for four weeks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06skyv5.
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The disappearing Mr Wallace

  1. On 30 June 2015, I noticed that the military charity Our Local Heroes Foundation had again redesigned its website. There was an important omission, though: patron Ben Wallace MP had disappeared. I couldn’t see his name or photo on the section of the homepage then listing patrons. There were now two patrons. Yet Mr Wallace’s website (www.benwallacemp.com) had nothing to indicate a change in his relationship with the charity.
  2. As a patron, the MP for Wyre and Preston North has defended the charity and its fundraising activities with Prize Promotions Limited of Blackpool to both me and others, including BBC Radio 5 live (see para 11 in my 26 December 2014 post).
  3. As an MP, Mr Wallace lends credibility to Our Local Heroes Foundation. Further, he’s been a minister since May 2015 – Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. His endorsement is worth even more because he himself is ex-military. People will assume that the charity is credible as Mr Wallace will surely have done due diligence. But former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP was a patron of failed military charity Afghan Heroes (as was comedian Bobby Ball). Talking of Afghan Heroes, it too worked with the discredited professional fundraiser, Prize Promotions Limited.
  4. On 30 June 2015, I emailed Mr Wallace at parliament to ask whether his vanishing from the Our Local Heroes Foundation website meant he was no longer a patron. If so, as of when? No response.
  5. Two weeks later, I sent a reminder because he still wasn’t listed as a patron on the charity homepage at 14 July 2015. Again, no response.
  6. Nine weeks after my first message I emailed Mr Wallace a final time 1 September 2015 seeking a response to my 30 June 2015 message. Still nothing.
  7. The unresponsiveness of Mr Wallace is unacceptable, especially because he was responsive previously. Trustees of charities must be accountable; but so should patrons (see my 13 August 2015 post). I’ve discovered celebrity patrons unwilling to answer legitimate questions about involvement with a charity: trusted TV presenter Valerie Singleton, for example (see my 16 July 2014 post). Mr Wallace isn’t a celebrity. It is reasonable to expect an MP – let alone minister – to be accountable.

Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015

  1. My 11 August 2015 post (para 2) reported that the charity Our Local Heroes Foundation was apparently still working with Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser, when the charity exhibited at Gadget Show Live 2015 in April. The link I provided there on the Gadget Show Live website is no longer functional as the site has been updated for next year’s show. So here is a screen shot (Figure 1) of the charity page on the Gadget Show Live website, showing Prize Promotions Limited named in the link itself:

    Figure 1. Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015 at 6 July 2015

    Figure 1. Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015 at 6 July 2015

  2. As I wrote 11 August 2015, this was further evidence that Our Local Heroes Foundation had continued working with Prize Promotions Limited despite telling 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme, in November 2014 that it would stop doing so (see my 10 November 2014 post).

Heroes and the Fallen website almost identical to Army of Heroes website

  1. The website of Heroes and the Fallen, a new unregistered military charity from Blackpool, is almost identical to that of Army of Heroes, another unregistered military charity from, er, Blackpool. Here I show that there are more similarities.
  2. In December 2014, I exposed Army of Heroes as yet another bogus military charity from Blackpool, after encountering two of its representatives in branded clothing selling wristbands in Manchester city centre without the requisite street collection permit from the local council (for a review of Army of Heroes, see my 15 August 2015 post). Its laughable website has recently disappeared: www.armyofheroes.org.uk. But here it is at 20 May 2015: https://web.archive.org/web/20150520080928/http://www.armyofheroes.org.uk/.
  3. The text on the Heroes and the Fallen website is almost identical: www.heroesandthefallen.com (screen shot in Figure 1, too).

    Figure 1. Heroes and the Fallen website at 11 December 2015

    Figure 1. Heroes and the Fallen website at 11 December 2015

  4. The Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ, a Facebook group, not only exposed Heroes and the Fallen as a scam, week beginning 7 December 2015. It also identified one of its wristband sellers in Liverpool city centre from photos in the Liverpool Echo: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/warning-against-bogus-charities-issued-10576216. The following day the newspaper named the seller as Mark Wallace of Blackpool, the owner of the company whose registered company number appears on the Heroes and the Fallen website: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/man-who-sparked-liverpool-city-10581921.
  5. On 16 February 2015, this blog published a photo of two Army of Heroes wristband sellers, also in Liverpool city centre. As you can see, their uniformbranded green jackets and black shoulder bags – is highly similar to that of Mr Wallace in the photos of the second Liverpool Echo report. Further, the green jackets for both display on their backs the logos from each website. There’s another similarity: Mr Wallace is shown to be carrying a clipboard. The Army of Heroes wristband sellers in Manchester city centre a year ago, too, had clipboards, as I described in my 12 December 2014 post.
  6. Army of Heroes and Heroes and the Fallen. Almost identical websites. Highly similar uniforms. Clipboards. From Blackpool. Is Mr Wallace really “a one-man band”, who’s “started up on my own”, as he tells the Liverpool Echo? He‘s not even the registrant of the domain name heroesandthefallen.com.

Email from Support The Heroes – dated 5 December 2015

  1. Please read my previous post published 25 November 2015.
  2. On 27 November 2015, I emailed Support The Heroes inviting a public response to that post about the charity and the Daily Mirror report (19 November 2015). I said I’d publish its response in full on the blog.
  3. On 5 December 2015, I received an email from Pauline White, public contact and a trustee for Support The Heroes. Before her response, three points about what she wrote.
  4. First, it is important to note that Ms White fails to refer to Prize Promotions Limited – though my post explicitly identified the discredited professional fundraiser and its relation to Targeted Management Limited, an opaque company working with Support The Heroes. The omission is unacceptable. Both Blackpool companies are owned by the same person, Tony Chadwick. This is a simple fact anyone can check on Companies House records.
  5. Second, Ms White refers to the charity’s first accounts, for financial year ending 31 March 2015. These are now available on the Charity Commission website. But there is no mention of Targeted Management Limited in the accounts, so there is still a lack of clarity and transparency about the company and its role(s) for Support The Heroes. As I wrote in my 11 August 2015 post on Targeted Management Limited, the money flows in and around the charity – including the company – should be disclosed.
  6. Third, turning to the actual statement from Support The Heroes that I challenged in my 25 November 2015 post: the charity has now deleted the post from its official Facebook page, it seems. Anyone can still read it though: see the screen shot in my previous post.
  7. Here is Ms White’s email in full:

Dr May 5 December 2015

I received your email of 27 November inviting me, on behalf of Support The

Heroes charity, to respond to your latest blog ‘Support The Heroes: a

statement that must be challenged’ with regard to the points which relate

to us.

You state that our response to a Facebook query by Mark Bishop concerning

an article appearing in the Daily Mirror, penned by Andrew Penman, on 19

November headed ‘Another company poses as armed forces charity to rifle

aid for injured soldiers’ and relating to the section ‘Armed forces

charities’ – the roll-call of shame’ was false. We challenge your

accusation, stand by our statement and suggest you provide us with

evidence of a link between any of the charities/companies mentioned

therein.

You then, at clause 5, mention that ‘nothing about Chadwick and any of his

companies appear on the charity website and as at 25 November 2015 there

is still nothing about Targeted Management Limited’ you then accuse us of

hiding the involvement of the company. On this point I refer you to my

email of 5 May 2015, posted on your blog 8 May 2015, in which I give in

detail our relationship with Targeted Management Limited.

We would like to bring to your attention that your blog, due to your

unfounded and untrue accusations, has caused us considerable damage. Our

teams, and even staff at the venues where we operate, have been verbally

abused, threats have been levelled at us and for our own safety we have

had to temporarily discontinue our charitable activities. We have many

ex-service personnel working as fundraisers whose jobs could now be in

jeopardy

Our Charity, numbered 1155853, was registered with the Charities

Commission in February 2014. Our financial statements are posted on the

Charities Commission website albeit the filing date was January 2016.

Our financial statements including details of our donations are also

published on our website http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk

During the period we donated £15,120 to PTSD Resolution for counselling of

PTSD sufferers, £2,500 to NGVFA The National Gulf Veterans and Families

Association which covered the cost of a respite break for six wheelchair

bound veterans and six carers, £2,400 to The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home

in Worthing to fund two months neuropsychologist services enabling

residents with complex neurological disabilities to live with a lower

level of frustration and anxiety and £1500 to Blind Veterans UK. We still

had £46,000 available for future donations the most recent being £7138.99

going to The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2015 representing 100% of

donations and 100% of profits made from sales activities from the 26th

October to the 8th November 2015.

Our Trustees have not received any financial remuneration, benefit or

expenses from the Charity or connected business, hardly the actions of a

dubious charity’ or an organisation trying to ‘hide’ anything.

We would be more than happy to meet face to face and try to understand

your concerns and to ease any doubts you may have regarding our charity

and its probity.

As you stated ‘I’ll publish your response in full on the blog’ I look

forward with interest to reading same.

Pauline White

Trustee”