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​Charges laid over alleged charity scam

Tuesday 21 July 2015     [PDF,213kb]

An investigation by the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) into an alleged charity scam has resulted in charges being laid against three Sydney residents.

A 48-year-old-man and 49-year-old woman from Bligh Park and a 70-year-old man from Blacktown have been issued with court attendance notices to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on 3 August 2015.

OLGR’s investigation focused on alleged illegal charitable fundraising and lottery activities by two organisations, the Healthology Church and Solutions To Obesity Problems (STOP).

As a result of the investigation, Matthew John Murdoch (alias Mills, alias Doctor Reverend Matt John Peter Murdoch) of Bligh Park has been charged with four counts of conducting unlawful fundraising and two counts of conducting a prohibited lottery.

Jennifer Jean Stanley of Bligh Park and Kenneth J. Mills of Blacktown have each been charged with four counts of participating in unlawful fundraising and two counts of conducting a prohibited lottery.

OLGR alleges that in 2010, Solutions To Obesity Problems had its charitable fundraising authority revoked but continued to pose as an authorised charity to solicit public donations.

It will be further alleged another entity, called the Healthology Church, was also created to engage in unauthorised fundraising with deposited money used to purchase alcohol and food at bottleshops, hotels, restaurants and fast food outlets in NSW and Queensland.

OLGR alleges illegal activities included fundraising and the promotion of fake lotteries through the websites

www.healthologychurch.org and www.stop.org.au which falsely purported to offer the chance to win prizes of goods and services valued at up to $20,000.

OLGR Director of Compliance and Enforcement Anthony Keon said public donations to legitimate charitable organisations are made in good faith to assist a range of social causes, and charity scams have the potential to undermine public trust in genuine appeals.

"If an organisation intends to fundraise for a charitable purpose or conduct a promotional lottery it must have appropriate approvals in place to ensure it operates in good faith and in accordance with regulatory requirements," Mr Keon said.