Remember when we said you won’t go to jail for violating the California Attorney General’s rules on charitable solicitation? Well, you can go to jail for violating the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
OFAC administers economic sanctions against certain foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers and persons or entities involved with weapons of mass destruction. OFAC maintains lists of those subject to economic sanctions and prohibits U.S. persons and entities from supporting those under sanctions.
I know what you’re asking, how does this apply to you?
If you are a board member of a nonprofit organization that gives grants to foreign charitable organizations and your nonprofit is not checking Treasury Department lists, it should be. If the organization grants funds to persons or entities on sanctions lists without prior approval, possible criminal penalties include fines from $50,000 to $10,000,000 and prison time from 10 to 30 years. Additional civil penalties range from $250,000 to $1,075,000.
If you think your nonprofit may have already violated OFAC, voluntary disclosure of past violations is encouraged. But make sure to consult with legal counsel first. If you want more information, check out the OFAC FAQ’s or contact us.