A man running a questionable food bank operation in the Fraser Valley has been charged with seven counts of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act.
Mirek Kwasny, 48, is accused of failing to file a return and, if found guilty, is subject to a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000 and/or a prison term of up to 12 months.
A spokesperson with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said she could not provide any specifics, as the matter is now before the courts.
However, due to previous issues with the CRA, Kwasny was required to file an income tax return for each taxation year that he operated the Maple Ridge-based Canadian Charity Assist Society (CCAS).
The CCAS had its charitable status revoked by the CRA in 2008. CCAS was one of 845 charities selected for audit that year, and one of 38 organizations to have their status revoked for not meeting various regulations of the Income Tax Act.
A CRA letter obtained by the Abbotsford News that was sent to Kwasny states that he “had not maintained adequate books, records or internal accounting controls.”
“The audit also indicated the charity has not devoted all of its resources to charitable activities due to the extensive fundraising expenses and director benefits,” the letter continued.
Two contracted fundraisers earned 66.6 per cent and 50 per cent of total donations raised, the CRA stated.
As well, the society failed to issue official donation receipts. When its charitable status was revoked, the CCAS was no longer permitted to provide donation receipts for income tax purposes.
Kwasny then began running a different organization, Single Parent Food Bank (SPFB), out of Mission. It has not been issued charitable status by the CRA.
The News reported on this operation last fall, after concerns arose in the community about a person collecting cash donations for a food bank. The SPFB is not affiliated with any legitimate established food bank in the Fraser Valley.
The News was unable to find a food distribution site for SPFB, and tracked down Kwasny to a basement suite in Mission where a sign for Canadian Charity Assist Society was hanging on the door.
A blog for SPFB (singleparentfoodbank.org) states that it “provides perishable foods and baby items to single parent families with limited budgets.” It provides a phone number for the delivery or pickup of food hampers, and lists a location on 222 Street as its mailing address.
Kwasny is slated to make his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court on July 28.
As well, he is scheduled to appear June 30 in Port Coquitlam court on charges of failing to comply with the Income Tax Act in 1993, for which he was issued a $3,000 fine in 2007 that he has not yet paid.