Fraud artist mix-up among charities
Soliciting in Whistler was a mistake, admits Squamish agency
By Chris Woodall
The Big Brothers & Sisters organization in Whistler was not amused when they thought someone was impersonating one of their canvassers last month.
Now they are not amused that the person was legitimately seeking donations for Big Brothers & Sisters, but for the Squamish branch of the international organization.
Back in early April, Pique Newsmagazine was notified by the Whistler branch that a man was circulating among Whistler businesses asking for cash donations. The local Big Brothers & Sisters group was tipped off by several businesses who had refused to give cash.
These businesses said the man offered to write up tax receipts, but would only accept cash, not goods in kind.
"We don't raise money that way," Whistler case worker Ann-Shirley Goodell said at the time.
But it turns out the person on the prowl was a legitimate Squamish Big Brothers & Sisters canvasser looking for donations for the annual Bowl for Millions campaign, says Wendy Brown, a director of the Squamish chapter.
It is normal during this fund-raising campaign to solicit cash or cheques as they sign up on a pledge sheet, Brown says in a letter to Pique Newsmagazine.
"This was done in Whistler by said gentleman," says Brown.
The Squamish group may have overstepped its bounds in so doing, she admits.
Soliciting on some other charity's turf is a no-no, says Whistler's Goodell.
"We have an agreement with Squamish not to fund-raise here," Goodell says.
"I understand this may have been somewhat inappropriate to solicit businesses in Whistler as Whistler does have its own agency," Brown says. "However, he did explain to those sponsors that this was a Squamish fund-raiser as they have signed the pledge sheet indicating same."
The Squamish charity is mailing tax receipts now, Brown says.
The annual duck race down Fitzsimmons Creek is the Whistler Big Brothers & Sisters’ major fund-raiser, along with smaller efforts through the year, Goodell says. "We'll always issue tax receipts and will accept goods in kind because they can be given directly to the Little Brothers or Sisters."
Whistler police have advised businesses to be leery of canvassers insisting on cash.
"Don't give them anything if they insist on cash," is the advice from Whistler's RCMP detachment.