Imagine running a charity program that accepts money for noble causes. Suddenly, a criminal or malicious actor shows up and decides he’s going to give some money he stole to you. You’d like to say yes because any amount helps what you’re working towards, but the fact is that this is stolen money, and your conscience could never be okay with taking it. In addition, you’re likely to get locked up in some legal issues down the line. What would you do? Unfortunately, for two charities, this is the decision they’re facing right about now.
Stolen Money Cannot Be Charity Money
Darkside, a cybercrime ring, has donated roughly 0.88 stolen bitcoin – worth approximately $10,000 at the time of writing – to two separate online charities: Children International and the Water Project. As it stands, the law is rather clear on issues like this. If a charity program does not know who the money came from, where it was sourced or how to return it if need be, then the program must say no and turn the funds down.
Brian Higgins – a security specialist at Comparitech.com – claims that the crime organization was looking to just get attention, and that it wasn’t keen on trying to make a difference in the world. He states:
Firstly, $10,000 is a paltry sum in comparison to the vast amounts of money they’ve extorted from their victims over the years, so it’s hardly a grand philanthropic gesture and, secondly, no credible charity is ever going to accept donations which are demonstrably the proceeds of crime. There’s a small possibility this is some kind of test to see if they could launder their criminal proceeds somehow, but it’s more probable that Darkside clearly has too much time on its hands and too much stolen money knocking about in their bitcoin wallets. If they were really serious about ‘making the world a better place’ they’d all sell their laptops and stay off the internet.
Despite these words, Darkside has released a press release that appears to compare the organization to a modern-day Robin Hood and his merry men, with representatives saying that they are potentially looking to make some sort of small difference. The press release explains:
No matter how bad you think our work is, we are pleased to know that we helped change someone’s life.
The Law Makes Things Clear
The charities also received the money before Darkside ever let the world know of its involvement. The Institute of Fundraisers explains:
Donations to charities should only be rejected in exceptional circumstances, when it would be unlawful to accept it (e.g. the organization knows that the gift comprises the proceeds of crime) or accepting the donation would be detrimental to the achievement of the purposes of the organization, as set out in its constitution.