You wanna hear a real sweet racket?
I once worked for a thrift store operator in Oregon who owned three stores in the Portland Area. Aside from various donations from the public, the vast bulk of his stock came from the local child abuse prevention agency. His store bought huge truckloads of stuff from them daily and stocked his store. Since the child abuse agency was non-profit and charitable etc. he got almost a 100% write-off for buying the donated goods.
Now here's the catch: the child abuse prevention agency was a privately owned charity, wholly owned and operated by, you guessed it, this same guy! So it works like this: the guy accepts tons of stuff, gratis, from well-meaning people who want to stop child abuse (and who wouldn't?) He then sells it to himself at the thrift store at whatever price he wants to name, depending on the tax situation. His child abuse agency gets all kinds of government funds to operate as a charity; his thrift store gets all kinds of tax breaks for "contributing", he keeps the money he "spent" on the donations, AND he gets to then re-sell the merchandise legally in his stores, probably to the same damn people who have been donating to the charity!
It was a self-perpetuating business with very little overhead, and the guy was raking it in. Furthermore, there are not very stringent regulations governing charitable organizations, and there was no way to tell exactly how much money was actually being allocated to abused kids. That part I wasn't privy to, though...
Now is that a racket, or what?
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