Is the Make-A-Way Corporation in Hot Water? In 2010, the founder of Make-A-Way Corporation, Christopher Jones, was charged with violations of bingo statutes after receiving donations at a bingo fundraiser. His charges were dropped after he completed a deferment agreement. In addition, the bingo operators were charged with grand theft.
Unlawful Charity Bingo
The Leon County Sheriff’s Department in Florida charged Christopher Jones, the founder of Make-A-Way Corporation, with violations of bingo statues in 2012. The case against Jones was dropped after he completed a deferment agreement. In the original case, detectives found out that the Racetrack Bingo in Tallahassee that was meant to raise funds for charity was using funds to operate a commercial bingo hall which is a violation of Florida law. Jones was asked to go to a fundraiser by the bingo operates as a beneficiary but was not suppose to receive any proceeds from the event. Florida law states that a non-profit organization must exist and be active for 3 years before it may operate charity bingo games. The terms of the deferment state that Jones cannot participate in any unlawful behavior.
Jones founded the Make-A-Way Corporation in 2007 to create affordable homes for moderate to low income families. This corporation renovates and re-builds abandoned and old properties to make them into safe and energy efficient homes. Jones claims that he talked to the IRS before going to the bingo fundraiser and was told it was fine for him to accept donations from that bingo event. Jones said he was going to use the funds to help his organization continue to create safe and affordable family homes.
When he found out that an arrest warrant was issued against him for bingo statute violations, he immediately turned himself in to police. The operators of the Racetrack Bingo hall were charged with grand theft as the non-profit organizations that were supposed to receive donations from the event did not receive any money. The Sheriff’s Department says these non-profits are owed over $50,000. Jones says that he will find a way to keep his organization alive and will continue to help those in need.