Dina Alborano, founder of the now-defunct group ICareIHelp entered into an agreement with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General last month to pay civil penalties for allegedly violating state laws regarding charitable fundraising.
A statement issued by the office on Jan. 13 indicates Alborano took in $344,290 in donations between November 2017 and December 2018 that were commingled into personal accounts belonging to her and a partner. An investigation by the office and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs found ICareIHelp had never been registered as a charitable organization.
“Donors were led to believe that the money they contributed to ICareIHelp would be used to purchase Thoroughbred horses bound for the slaughterhouse and pay for the animals' care while they awaited adoption into permanent homes,” said Howard Pine, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Instead, donor funds were funneled into bank accounts controlled by Alborano and an acquaintance and it's unclear from the records kept just how much of that money was actually used for rescuing horses.”
Alborano agreed to pay $5,000 in civil penalties, divided into two installments. She was also ordered to permanently cease operations of ICareIHelp, was banned from serving as principal, board member or trustee of any other charitable organization, and barred from any “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business in the state.”
The settlement agreement can be found here.
Attorney Frank Arleo, who represents Alborano, issued the following statement: “As can be seen from a reading of the Consent Order, ICareIHelp resolved this purely civil matter by paying a small fine related to its failure to properly register as a non-profit in accordance with New Jersey law. Ms. Alborano is happy to have resolved this matter in an amicable fashion.”
Alborano told the Office the $17,000 in donations that remained when ICareIHelp shut down were donated to an unidentified 501(c)3 charity.
ICareIHelp was the subject of an investigation by the Paulick Report in early 2018 which examined the organization's practice of taking donations via Alborano's personal PayPal account, discrepancies in her representation of its 501(c)3 non-profit status, and the care and identification of off-track Thoroughbreds she allegedly paid to rescue and care for. A subsequent follow-up from the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization, which ended up with several emaciated horses from ICareIHelp, revealed multiple cases of poor nutrition or veterinary care of OTTBs after they were “rescued” by the group.
Many of the horses Alborano claimed to have rescued from the slaughter pipeline would later become unaccounted for. Hal Parker, the Louisiana horsemen who was hired by Alborano to care for ICareIHelp horses, was later hit with multiple charges of animal cruelty due to the condition of the Thoroughbreds that were found by police in early 2019.
The full statement from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General can be found here.
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