Rajendren Rajamani, a charity con artist pleaded guilty to 26 (out of 90) charges

It's very sad to notice that these days the word 'charity' might often be associated with 'crime'. Have you read the latest news about one 'charity con artist' named Rajendren Rajamani? (Yes, the photo was taken from his Japanese (?) Facebook account).

The news is a follow up from the press release issued by Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports on 02 May 2007 in which three charities--set up by the con artist Rajendren Rajami--were removed from the Register of Charities under the amended Charities Act. In the same press release, it is also stated that the Commissioner of Charities (COC) had made a Police Report against Mr Rajendren for further investigation.

What a shame! Rajendren Rajamani had pleaded guilty to the 26 charges (there are total of 90 of them). And what is it about him setting up a Facebook account with facebook.jp?! Heh.

A man in his early 20s who set up a network of charities, only to con the public of more than $100,000, was convicted on Tuesday.

The con artist, Rajendren Rajamani, 26, who helped himself to $47,300 of the donations, will be sentenced on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rajendren pleaded with the judge for a non-excessive sentence that would not have a 'crushing effect'.

In mitigation, he claimed he was so moved by the poverty he had witnessed on a trip to India as a 12-year-old that he was compelled to start a charity.

In 2005, he set up three charities supposedly to help disadvantaged children here.

But it turned out to be an elaborate scheme to get the public, another charity, and even his parents to part with their money.

His activities were exposed by The Straits Times which highlighted the dubious practices at the three outfits he ran: The Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Lukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine.

He had faced 90 charges and pleaded guilty to 26 of them.

These 26 charges included offences for forgery, criminal breach of trust and submitting false documents to the Registrar of the Accountuing and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

From Straits Times, "Charity con artist convicted".

Following the implementation of new regulations governing charity registration, public fund-raising appeals and large charities on 1 May 2007, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) announces today the removal of three charities from the Register of Charities with immediate effect. These are the Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Lukaemia Foundation Limited, and Club Sunshine Limited (previously known as Kids-In-Distress Foundation Limited[1]).

The COC has also decided not to grant charity status to Kidney Fund Organisation.

Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Lukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine Limited

Since October 2006, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) has been monitoring the Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Lukaemia Foundation Limited and Club Sunshine Limited. These three charities, set up by Mr Rajendren Rajamani, have been prohibited from carrying out any public fund-raising appeals.

The COC has found serious irregularities and suspicious transactions in the administration of the charities by Mr Rajendren, and has viewed the intentions of the charities to be not exclusively charitable.

The office of the COC has also made a Police Report against Mr Rajendren for further investigation by the Police.

Kidney Fund Organisation

The Kidney Fund Organisation (KFO) was set up as a society and applied for registration as a charity with the purpose of providing financial assistance to kidney patients for their treatments and other needy patients such as those suffering from chronic illnesses.

After careful scrutiny, the COC has decided not to grant charity status to KFO. The COC is satisfied that the organisation's intentions were not exclusively charitable as the bulk of the donations it had collected did not benefit the charitable causes. The total amount of donations collected was about $110,000 in year 2006. Only a small fraction of the donations received were disbursed to a few beneficiaries. About 75% of the donations were used to pay for the engagement of a commercial fund-raising company, Amanah Fitrah, which is owned by KFO's Vice-President, whose wife is also the President of KFO. The other trustee of KFO is also an employee of the commercial fund-raising company. Such a close relationship has posed a serious conflict of interest.

To protect the interest of the donating public, the COC has also decided to prohibit the Kidney Fund Organisation from any public fund-raising with effect from 3 May 2007.

[1] Mr Rajendren had since transferred the Kids-In-Distress and Children's Lukaemia Foundation to some new trustees in October and November 2006 respectively. The Kids-In-Distress has been renamed as Club Sunshine Ltd.

Issued by:
Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
2 May 2007

From MCYS MEDIA RELEASE NO: 29/2007 (DATE OF ISSUE:02/05/2007), "THE COMMISSIONER OF CHARITIES DE-REGISTERS THREE DUBIOUS CHARITIES UNDER THE AMENDED CHARITIES ACT AND REJECTS ONE APPLICATION FOR CHARITY STATUS".

In what is likely to be a landmark case for the charity sector, 26-year-old Rajendren Rajamani – the man behind three charities that were set up to help children – will be sentenced on Thursday.

Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Leukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine were shut down in 2007 after the Commissioner of Charities found serious irregularities and suspicious transactions in their accounts.

Investigations had shown that much of the funds that were raised made its way to Rajendren's pocket.

Of the S$69,000 in the Children of Singapore Foundation account, S$47,300 went to Rajendren for his personal expenses, S$20,700 went to his girlfriend, Cindy Ong, and S$1,000 to his friend, Dominic Joseph.

To cover his tracks, he admitted that he falsified payment vouchers, invoices, financial aid payouts and the accounts of the charities.

He also misappropriated over S$42,000 in donation proceeds which he was supposed to hand over to New Hope Community Services, giving them some S$9,000 instead. No restitution has been made.

Rajendren, who has been in remand since his arrest last December, has pleaded guilty to 26 out of 90 charges, ranging from criminal breach of trust to forgery.

In mitigation, his lawyers said he started off with noble intentions, but faltered along the way, committing a series of crimes. He had since cooperated fully with the police.

This case is the first major case where the accused has pleaded guilty after stringent charity rules kicked in back in 2007.

Lawyers said this would likely set a precedent for other charity-related cases, such as the recently completed trial of former Ren Ci CEO Ming Yi.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Man in charity scam to be sentenced on Thursday".

A young man created bogus charities and invented fictitious beneficiaries to prey on the goodwill of the public, who gave him at least $120,000 for his work.

Also conned was a bona fide charity, which agreed to let him raise funds for it.

Rajendren Rajamani even hoodwinked his parents.

Unknown to them, the 26-year-old, who claimed to be a full-time investor, registered them as directors of his Children of Singapore Foundation. They found out from reading a news report about the foundation.

Yesterday, Rajendren pleaded for mercy after being charged with 90 offences, 26 of which he pleaded guilty to on Tuesday.

They included forgery, criminal breach of trust and the submission of false documents to the authorities. He will be sentenced today.

His journey to notoriety started in July 2006 when The Straits Times (ST) highlighted questionable practices by the Children of Singapore Foundation.

The newspaper noted that the charity, which he started in 2005, had no staff, no professionally-run services, and few beneficiaries, but was strenuously selling donation tickets to the man on the street to raise funds.

Also, Rajendren had not one, but three, charities to his name. The other two groups he set up were the Children's Lukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine, formerly known as Kids-in-Distress Foundation.

The Commissioner of Charities began monitoring the Children of Singapore Foundation after the ST article, court documents said.

From Straits Times, "Crook swindled $120k".

Right from the very start, there was nothing legitimate about the three charities Rajendren Rajamani set up, the prosecution said on Thursday. The 26-year-old engineered a 'systematic campaign of fraud and abuse of trust' to milk donations from the public, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam argued.

She noted that, in all, he embezzled $112,300 and used the money on himself and those around him, namely his then-girlfriend Cindy Ong Chin Li and his friend Dominic Thompson Joseph.

Rajendren, due to be sentenced on Aug 18, is the man behind the Children of Singapore Foundation, the Children's Leukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine, formerly known as the Kids-in-Distress Foundation.

They were the first charities shut down by the Commissioner of Charities in 2007, following investigations which found serious irregularities and suspicious transactions there.

This week, Rajendren pleaded guilty to 26 out of 90 offences, which included forgery, criminal breach of trust and the submission of false documents to the authorities.

On Thursday, DPP Veijayaratnam urged District Judge Eddy Tham to pass a deterrent sentence to send a strong message on the harsh punishment that awaits those who abuse charity funds.

To maintain public confidence and support for charities as a whole, charity funds must be managed well, to a standard equal to or even higher than that required of public listed companies, she said. This is critical, given that public trust in charities has been battered following a recent rash of high-profile charity scandals.

DPP Veijayaratnam did not spell them out, but she was clearly referring to the ones that mired Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre and the National Kidney Foundation.

On Thursday, the district judge asked about the $42,000 in donations raised by the Children's Leukaemia Foundation. Rajendren's lawyer Rakesh Vasu said the money had been handed over to the foundation's new directors. The prosecution disputed this, charging that Rajendren provided no evidence to support his claim.

The DPP described Rajendren as a sophisticated offender who was prepared to perpetrate different criminal schemes to meet his ends.

From Straits Times, "Conman's 'campaign of fraud'".



Update on 18/08: The verdict's out! Rajendren Rajamani is to be thrown to jail for 5 years and 2 months. Meanwhile netizens are speculating whether his parents would disown him anytime soon. After all, they were his victims too...

The man who set up three bogus charities to con the public of donations was jailed five years and two months on Tuesday afternoon.

District Judge Eddy Tham called Rajendren Rajamani's deeds 'repugnant and perverse' and amounted to a 'blatant betrayal and abuse of public trust'.

He also pointed out the difference between Rajendren charities - the Children of Singapore Foundation, Children's Leukaemia Foundation and Club Sunshine, previously known as Kids-In-Distress Foundation - and other charity scandals.

In other cases, the charities' work had benefitted many people, but along the way, their leaders dipped into the charity funds for themselves.

However, Rajendren, 26, created bogus charities right from the start 'for the sole purpose of enriching himself'.

He added: 'Not one iota of evidence in terms of documents has been presented to show that some genuine charity work had ever been undertaken by him through these organisations.

In all, Rajendren embezzled $112,300 and his victims included his parents and another charity, New Hope Community Services.

The man had registered his parents as the only other directors of the Children of Singapore Foundation behind their backs.

He also posed as a fund-raiser to collect donations for New Hope. The man then approached the real fund-raiser, claiming to be a New Hope staff.

Rajendren pocketed close to $43,000 out of the $52,000 collected by the fund-raiser for New Hope.

From Straits Times, "5 years jail for bogus charities".

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive