Settlement Reached with Humane Society of Harrisburg Area Regarding Substandard Record-Keeping and Reporting Practices

May 26, 2023 | Topic: Consumers

HARRISBURG— Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced a settlement with the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area regarding the organization’s bookkeeping methods, specifically, a lack of internal oversight of purchases and reimbursements.

Humane Society of Harrisburg Area is a charitable organization and therefore is required to maintain record-keeping standards. The Office of Attorney General’s Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, or settlement, requires the organization to maintain those standards and pay $45,055.25 to the Office of Attorney General. This amount includes a $5,000 civil penalty with the remainder being collected to recoup investigative costs. The settlement also requires that the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area file amended IRS forms 990 for 2021, 2022, and going forward.

“It is essential that Pennsylvania’s non-profit and charitable organizations keep accurate records so we can ensure every aspect of the Charities Act and Nonprofit Corporation Law is being followed,” said Attorney General Henry. “It is part of my constitutional mandate as Attorney General to verify that a level of public transparency is maintained by these organizations.”

The investigation focused solely on the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area’s record-keeping as required by the Charities Act and Nonprofit Corporation Law. The investigation produced no evidence of abuse or mistreatment of animals and no such allegations are contained within the settlement.

Since being contacted by the Office of Attorney General, the organization has already taken steps to improve financial control procedures and keep records up to standard, including contracting with an outside auditor and enforcement of credit card and check-writing policies.

The settlement arose from an investigation into the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area’s failure to disclose the Executive Director’s housing stipend in the organization’s required yearly reporting. Further violations by the Humane Society include a lack of appropriate internal oversight with regard to the use of business credit cards, purchasing, travel, and reimbursement policies.

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was filed today in Commonwealth Court by Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Vance-Rittman and Chief Deputy Attorney General Gene Herne of the Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section.

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