An organisation that was falsely claimed to be a military charity closed down when the Charity Commission looked into it after receiving complaints from the public, according to a case report published today.
In April 2015, the commission was alerted that Our Brave Heroes was collecting funds while claiming to be a charity and was giving its Companies House number whenever it was asked to provide a charity number.
People also complained that the company was selling lottery tickets to raise money for armed forces veterans suffering from physical and psychological disabilities, but was failing to explain that 80 per cent of the funding thus generated was going to a fundraising company.
After opening a case, the commission discovered that the director of the fundraising company, First Promotions, was a close relative of two of the three directors of Our Brave Heroes, who in turn were related to the purported charity’s other director.
The case report says this "raised concerns in respect of a possible conflict of interest within the organisation", particularly as the organisation was operating with less than the minimum number of directors required by its constitution.
The commission was unable to contact the organisation and discovered that it had moved offices but had failed to update its details at Companies House.
While the regulator’s enquiries went on, Our Brave Heroes applied to become a charity and the commission arranged to meet the directors.
"We advised Our Brave Heroes that we would not register the organisation as a charity until we were satisfied that the problems surrounding the way Our Brave Heroes was set up and run were addressed," the report says, adding that the further information the commission received did not resolve its concerns.
The commission issued the organisation with a list of issues it needed to address before it could become a charity, but in subsequent monitoring it did not see any evidence that this advice was being followed.
Our Brave Heroes was dissolved in January, according to Companies House, which also shows that First Promotions was officially dissolved four months earlier.
The commission said it monitored Our Brave Heroes’ winding up process to ensure that its £3,563 of remaining funds were donated to a well-known military charity.