SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A California couple who operated a charity that claimed to provide goods to San Diegans in need has been sentenced to prison.
Geraldine Hill and Clayton Hill pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion in June, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.
Geraldine has been sentenced to 15 months in prison while Clayton was sentenced to 9 months in prison.
The couple operated On Your Feet, also known as Family Resource Center. From 2011 to 2016, the pair obtained more than $1.35 million in donated clothing and other items and claimed the items would be given to the needy, according to prosecutors.
The items were supposed to benefit low-income families in San Diego.
“While fraud is always wrong, the theft of charitable donations that were to be used to help San Diego’s low income families is particularly disheartening,” said Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Omer Meisel. “This type of fraud and deceit for personal gain simply cannot be tolerated. The FBI is committed to ensuring that white collar predators don’t prevent those less fortunate from receiving all the benefits that generous donors provide to seemingly legitimate non-profit organizations.”
The Hills only donated about $13,000 in charitable donations and sold the remaining items, using the proceeds to support themselves, their family, and lavish spending, prosecutors say. Between January 2011 and February 2017, the couple spent nearly $380,000 from personal and charity bank accounts on luxury retail, vacations, entertainment, and vehicles.
The Hills then filed false charitable tax returns and did not pay taxes or file personal tax returns for 2013 and 2014, prosecutors added.
“Geraldine and Clayton Hill lied to unsuspecting donors about the direction of charitable contributions and engaged in tax fraud to cover their trail,” said Jim Lee, Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Unfortunately, the donors were well-meaning organizations interested in helping the needy and this fraud prevented real people in need from receiving assistance."
The couple has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $50,933 in restitution