When most people think of charity litigation, they think of one of two scenarios. Some think of disputes filed by representatives of a charity against a trustee due to suspected mismanagement of assets. Others think of disputes filed by family members of decedents who left assets to charities much to the dismay of those loved ones. However, a third scenario, as demonstrated by a case in Florida, is possible -- charity litigation can actually arise from investigations by federal agencies.
One agency regularly involved in charity litigation is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This agency, known for investigating fraud and preventing monopolies, keeps a close eye on suspicious "charitable" activity. One example of the SEC's involvement in charity litigation occurred in Florida in 2013.
In that case, the SEC filed charges against a couple who was supposed to be selling investments for a charity based in Florida. The SEC alleged that the couple were sending very little of the proceeds from the sales to the charity, while keeping a large part for themselves. Basically, the couple was accused of violating antifraud provisions.
When charity litigation ends up under the jurisdiction of a U.S. District Court, the case, in all likelihood, will be very complex. When a case is that complex, those involved will likely find the assistance of an experienced legal professional invaluable. An attorney authorized to practice in a U.S. District Court in Florida who understands charity litigation and has experience with similar cases can assist a client throughout the legal proceedings.