Organizer of Bikers and Bellydancers Ride Against Cancer event guilty of fraud
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Patricia Giovannini, 55, of Harrisburg, pleaded guilty Thursday to prohibited acts under the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act. Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas Judge John F. Cherry sentenced her to 36 month’s probation and ordered her to pay $3,782.97 in restitution. She will also be permanently barred from participating in charitable fundraisers.
Giovannini, of Harrisburg, had organized a fundraiser in May of 2014 called “Bikers and Bellydancers Ride Against Cancer”. The event went forward, but none of the proceeds were given to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, as participants had expected. Giovannini instead used the money for her own purposes.
In July of 2014, one participant became concerned that the proceeds had not been turned over, and contacted the State Department of Pennsylvania, which has the power to supervise charitable organizations. An investigator obtained bank records related to the case, and it was also discovered that Giovannini had not registered her organization with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations encourages residents of the Commonwealth to visit the Bureau’s website at http://www.dos.pa.gov/BusinessCharities/Charities
to search if a charitable organization soliciting in the Commonwealth is properly registered with the Bureau, pursuant to Pennsylvania law, and if any discipline has been entered against such organization. Also, residents are encouraged to file a complaint with the Bureau to report any suspected fraud or other suspicious behavior related to a charitable organization.
SOURCE: Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office