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Humane Society of Harrisburg Area fined $45,000 for failing to accurately report finances

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area owes over $45,000 for failing to meet nonprofit bookkeeping standards.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from Feb. 20.

A Harrisburg nonprofit is facing a steep fine after investigators discovered it had not been honest in reporting its finances, months after former volunteers and employees spoke out against its toxic work environment and dubious practices.

Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced that the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area (HSHA) must pay $45,055.25 to the office for failing to disclose the executive director's housing stipend and using business funds for nonlegitimate purchases.

“It is essential that Pennsylvania’s non-profit and charitable organizations keep accurate records so we can ensure every aspect of the Charities Act and Nonprofit Corporation Law is being followed,” said AG Henry, via a press release. “It is part of my constitutional mandate as Attorney General to verify that a level of public transparency is maintained by these organizations.”

The lawsuit alleges that the HSHA underreported its executive director's income from 2013 through 2019 by failing to disclose her $950 housing allowance. The organization is also accused of including personal employee purchases such as merchandise, entertainment, hospitality and housing in its program service expenses.

"I saw a lot of questionable expenses," former director of marketing Lori Zink said back in February. "And when I did go to a board member that I was semi-friendly with and told him about it, he didn’t seem concerned."

The money from the fine will be used to reimburse the AG's office for costs of investigation, settle civil penalties and pay the filing fee for the citation.

In addition to the fine, the HSHA is required to file amended IRS forms 990 for 2021, 2022 and going forward.

AG Henry claims the organization has already taken steps to improve financial control procedures and keep records up to standard, including contracting with an outside auditor and enforcement of credit card and check-writing policies.

The AG's office says the investigation focused solely on the HSHA’s record-keeping as required by the Charities Act and Nonprofit Corporation Law. The investigation produced no evidence of abuse or mistreatment of animals and no such allegations are contained within the settlement.

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