Yesterday, the Honorable Glenn Hara, Circuit Court Judge, Third Circuit, granted Attorney General David M. Louie’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief, an accounting, and an order freezing all contributions made by donors to Anthony Marasia (“Marasia”), doing business as “Love the Animals. Marasia is a resident of Honomu, Hawaii.
Beginning sometime in 2007, Marasia began soliciting contributions from the public via an Internet site (www.lovetheanimals.org) and on other social media sites (My Space and Facebook) for the humane treatment of animals.
A five month investigation by the Department of the Attorney General’s charitable oversight unit revealed that all donations were deposited into Marasia’s personal bank accounts and co-mingled with his own monies. The Attorney General’s investigation also revealed that Marasia used some of the donors’ funds for gasoline, food, and other personal items. Marasia’s only other source of employment was as a contractor for a “psychic” phone service. On March 1, 2011, the Attorney General then filed a lawsuit naming Marasia as the defendant, seeking injunctive relief, an accounting and other equitable relief.
Via his Internet sites, Marasia represented that all funds collected would be devoted to the humane treatment of animals and led donors to believe that their donations were tax deductible. “Love the Animals” is not recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charity and donations to Marasia were not tax deductible, nor is it incorporated as a nonprofit entity. Marasia was ordered to by the Third Circuit Court to provide an accounting to the Attorney General of all contributions and expenditures and to cease all solicitation activities for any charitable purpose.
Attorney General David M. Louie said “The Attorney General’s Office is committed to making Hawaii safe for good philanthropy and to pursue individuals who divert donors’ contributions to non-charitable purposes.”
After Marasia provides the accounting for all expenditures of donations, “we may seek restitution or the appointment of a receiver for whatever funds remain unspent,” Louie said.
Submitted by state attorney general