April 4, 2011

FBI Puts Madonna Charity In Crosshairs

The Daily
written by Sarah Ryley and Joshua Bernstein
Sunday, April 3, 2011

A week after scandal broke about Madonna's Raising Malawi charity, The Daily has learned that another one of the Material Girl's nonprofits, Success for Kids, is under scrutiny by the FBI.

Federal agents out of the FBI's Los Angeles field division have been looking into "several irregularities and suspicious activity" involving the educational charity which she chairs, several sources within the Department of Justice told The Daily.

The charity has raised more than $33 million in contributions since it was founded in 2001 — and the Material Girl has been its biggest booster, using her star power to raise millions from rich and famous donors.

Success for Kids claims its lessons on emotional empowerment have reached 60,000 kids in seven countries, from Russia to Panama.

Through her Ray of Light foundation, Madonna donated $671,000 toward the charity between 1999 and 2009, and an additional $2.5 million toward her other charity, Raising Malawi, which split from Success for Kids in 2008.

Recently it was reported that Raising Malawi wasted $3.8 million on a planned school in the impoverished nation before even a brick had been laid, and some of that money couldn't be accounted for.

"First of all, most charities are not investigated," said Ken Berger, president of the charity watchdog group, Charity Navigator. "Multiple investigations going on at once is quite extraordinary," he said, referring to a blog report that several unnamed people had been served subpoenas to appear before a grand jury convened in Manhattan's U.S. District Court.

Success for Kids, the Kabbalah Centre, Raising Malawi and Madonna all declined to comment.

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