Shane Warne, a well-known cricket player in Australia, recently announced that he is closing his foundation, which was started to help ill and underprivileged youth. The group’s closure comes after it continually failed to release its financial information. Consumer Affairs Victoria, a watchdog organization in Australia, called for an audit following fundraising disclosure laws. Only details from 2011 to 2013 were made available, because earlier documents were “missing or unavailable.”
What those documents showed was that, in that time, the foundation raised $1.8 million, but only actually disbursed $281,000. That can only be due to either inept management, or fraud. The leadership of the group has general been paid reasonable salaries for a foundation that size, but also reportedly took home more pay than they claimed.
It also begs the question of how the older documents could have been misplaced. The foundation was around for 12 years, over which Warne claims they raised around $8 million, but they’ve only disbursed $3.7 million. They also claim that they received no donations in 2014.
If the foundation is simply poorly run, laughably poorly run, then it’s possible that, with restructuring, it could have done some real good. Running a successful charity requires a lot of hard work and skill, and it is possible they just screwed up. A lot. But after all that time, it seems unlikely that it was simply a matter of inefficient use of resources or inept planning. It seems much more likely that the foundation was at least partly fraudulent. It’s an unfortunate reality of the charity world, and it wouldn’t be the first time that a celebrity charity or foundation turned out to be little more than a scam. Numerous celebrities, much larger than Warne, have been hit by the truth behind such allegations.