Settlement reached with Arabian horse charity

The Arabian Rescue Mission is now registered as a charity.
The Arabian Rescue Mission is now registered as a charity.

New Jersey authorities have reached a settlement with two trustees of an Arabian horse charity over its management.

The charity is now registered and will report annually, as required by the state.

The New Jersey State Division of Consumer Affairs has accepted a deal under which  two trustees of the organization agreed to pay $US6,000 back to the organization under the terms of a consent order.

Therese A. Figueroa, 55, and Cynthia J. Millar, 36, both of Branchville, have each paid $US3,000 to The Arabian Rescue Mission, Inc. (ARM), the department said. Both are trustees of ARM.

ARM, which operates a facility in Wantage Township, in Sussex County, had never been registered as a charitable organization with the Division of Consumer Affairs as required.

During its investigation, it determined that Figueroa and Millar commingled charitable donations with payments made to a for-profit stable operating on the same Wantage Township property as the horse rescue organization.

Additionally, the for-profit stable charged ARM for boarding and feeding horses, but payment records were inconsistent and incomplete.

“Potential donors did not receive, and could not get, the financial transparency from this organization that they are entitled to,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

“The Arabian Rescue Mission now is registered and it will annually report financial information required under state law.”

ARM’s federal taxpayer identification number was used by other organizations unaffiliated with it, the investigation found.

A $US25,000 civil penalty assessed against ARM, Figueroa, and Millar is suspended but can be reinstated if the terms of the consent order are not met.

“We’ve increased the public’s focus on how charities use contributions through our ongoing ‘Investigate Before You Donate’ initiative,” said Thomas Calcagni, the director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.

“Consumers should always check whether a charity is registered to solicit donations in New Jersey, and how those donations are spent.”

The “Investigate Before You Donate” initiative was launched last year.

Anna Lascurain, Special Deputy in Litigation, represented the state in the matter. Supervising Investigator Larry Biondo and Investigator Patrick Mullan, in the Charities and Fundraising Fraud Unit, conducted the inquiry.

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