Ten charities have been removed from the register of charities after the Charity Commission concluded they had made fraudulent applications.
The commission said today that the organisations, which were registered between November 2012 and April 2014, all had similar objects of advancing education by funding overseas projects and all listed Bhutan and Bangladesh as areas in which they operated.
The regulator became suspicious after pre-registration checks showed that fraudulent documents had been included in 18 further applications for charitable status, which were all turned down.
Further investigation showed that the 10 charities already on the register shared a "specific feature" with the 18 refused applications. The commission will not publicly disclose what this feature is because it wants to protect its pre-registration process.
"The 10 applications had been submitted over a two-year period, but in looking at all of the information comparatively, we quickly identified a number of suspicious commonalities across all the documents," a statement from the commission said.
"For example, in correspondence with each of the charities during the registration process, they had all supplied identical information about the intended public benefit of their work."
The regulator said the evidence suggested that one person or group was behind the fraudulent applications to gain a charity registration number.
The commission has removed the 10 charities from the register and informed Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud run by City of London Police, about the case.
Two of the organisations that have been removed from the register, Angel Network and Out Care, had been registered for long enough to submit annual returns, the commission said.
Both had told the regulator that they were below the £25,000 threshold for providing full accounts.
This meant they had supplied only limited information on their activities so the commission was unable to confirm how much money, if any, had been raised or why the charities had been set up.
The 10 charities that have been removed from the register on the grounds that they do not operate are:
Silent Image (charity number 1155486)
Ideal Ways (1155384)
Link Effect (1154761)
Capacity Building (1154871)
Initiative Assurance (1152200)
New Lead (1156381)
Destiny Rescue (1150740)
Angel Network (1150266)
Out Care (1149598)
Guide Watch (1156744).