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Is DownUnder on the Up & Up?
updated: Feb 22, 2013, 8:23 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I received a donation request from my high school aged niece, asking for money so that she can attend a track and field meet in Australia. All the donations go to this "down under sports" organization. I don't know that I will contribute because it seems flakey to me. I suspect my mom, her grandmother might be convinced to donate. The cost is it $6000. I wonder if anyone has heard of "downundersports?"

If it is a scam, I'd like to be able to educate my niece and mom about this.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 377719P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 08:32 PM

My son had a fundraiser for it at La Cumbre Jr. High. The trip was only going to work if a certain amount of people could commit, which we could not. I thought the whole thing felt wrong.


 COMMENT 377720 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 08:32 PM

Google it, but it comes back as a scam


 COMMENT 377721P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 08:32 PM

Whenever I want more information about a business, I do an internet search using the words "review of ....."
It helps. Perhaps this organization is a travel business sending students to Australia.


 COMMENT 377724 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 08:41 PM

Always be skeptical. A few years back, an outside company held a seminar at a local high school for one of those graduation Europe trips, luckily someone figured out shortly after the presentation that this was a company that would secure 18+ year olds going on a trip for which the purpose was to get footage for - get this - GIRLS GONE WILD. Not joking in the very least.


 COMMENT 377734P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 10:21 PM

You have internet. Check out downundersports in Australia, nonprofit status, company info filed with Australian government. Unfortunately, most of us are ridiculously naive. We have a Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Bill Brown, whose 2010 election campaign was financed and endorsed by a scam telemarketing organization called COPS, an organization that candidates pay for these purposes, that has no association with law enforcement, and that used fundraising scams that included threatening Latinos with discontinuation of their 911 service if they didn't make a contribution, and that settled litigation based on numerous fraud charges filed by Jerry Brown AG for $12.7 million. Bill Brown was also endorsed by California Police Chiefs Association ,a name similar to the Association of Chiefs of Police, a huge international organization. CPCA was founded by 16 police chiefs in small norcal counties, with Cam Sanchez & Bill Brown past presidents, and a lot of campus cops, etc, as members. He fooled the Indy's owner, Marianne Partridge, who endorsed Bill Brown based on his endorsement by the "state law enforcement organization", as well as many others. $6K is a lot of $$ - do due diligence on this.


 COMMENT 377735P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 10:33 PM

731P, you are right. People do need to learn to use the internet. CPCA membership is limited as follows: "Membership in Cal Chiefs is limited to municipal police chiefs and their seconds in command, as well as California Police Chiefs in good standing who have retired." You are correct in that Cam Sanchez was President in 2004 and Bill Brown in 2005. Nothing at all wrong with that.
As for COPS - it was a fraudulent charity and gave money to no one but its principals. Its state purpose was: "(a) to provide financial assistance to families of police officers and sheriffs killed in the line of duty; (b) to provide financial assistance to police officers and sherifl's disabled while performing their duties; and (c) to promote public awareness of the dangers of law enforcement." It did none of that, and neither did it finance anything but the officers pockets.
You may not like either Cam Sanchez or Bill Brown, which is your right, but please base it on fact and not this kind of thing. And this is way off subject.


 COMMENT 377737P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 10:36 PM

Look at the application. A $300 non-refundable/non-transferrable fee is required just to submit the application. It's a travel agency, posing as an athletic organization, offering an expensive vacation. The trip has a sports-based theme and the kids enter a few mediocre competitions. However, I've heard it is a fun vacation for those who can afford to go.


 COMMENT 377754P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 12:28 AM

I don't disagree about using the Internet, but CONTACT THE SCHOOL!
I have a neighbor whose daughter, in 10th grade I think, has already gone to Europe on a school trip. It was through the school! (Local SB school) I saw the forms. I donated. I ate some chocolate. Call the school. And don't get burned. From previous responses, it looks like a scam.


 COMMENT 377755P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 12:29 AM

I meant to ask, Where does your niece live? In CA? What county? Is this local?


 COMMENT 377756P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 12:35 AM

754 here. Sorry! I misread. She's simply "high school aged" and the trip has nothing to do with her school.
And it sounds like a very bad idea. Good for you for catching it!


 COMMENT 377766 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 07:15 AM

Call the high school office. If they don't know about it, they need to. They will tell you if it's legit.


 COMMENT 377781 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 08:08 AM

A woman who appeared college aged came to my door yesterday afternoon, and aggressively asked me to donate for this. It instantly felt wrong to me. I told her a quick no, closed the door, and she shouted with anger through the closed door that I had not let her fully explain it. I'm going with scam 100%.


 COMMENT 377812P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 09:47 AM

If they can't give or send you a written sheet of all the information, contacts, breakdown of expenses, "so you can look it over before you donate," they're not organized enough or possibly legit. They'll hang up or run away pretty fast if they can't oblige. Even if a fundraiser is legitimate, the administrative costs should be under 20%. Used to be a higher percentage, but nowadays the best "charities," like WWF, clock in at under 10% and have set the standard.


 COMMENT 377828 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-23 10:44 AM

If you are looking for a scandal supressed, check into the use of Chumash gambling funds (a proposed "donation") by and through chief Sanchez and the Chumash tribal chairman Armenta, in order to blackmail the local Police Officers association foundation and also the continual cover up of massive criminal activity occurring at and coming out of the Chumash casino. It was never a coincidence that the Public Relations person (PIO) at the casino was married to the civilian Public Relations person (PIO) at the Sheriff's Department (who recently left).


 COMMENT 378051P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-24 12:11 AM

There are so many opportunities to be fooled out there. It would be best if we did not give to any telephone request. They hopefully would soon stop calling. I hate to be called by an automatic machine, usually during dinner.


 COMMENT 378496P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 12:25 PM

735P: CPCA membership info I posted was based on titles provided by CPCA members on surveys they completed at a CPCA conference.
Sheriff Brown used COPS's endorsement in campaign literature during the 2010 election, representing them as an organization of law enforcement members, after AG Jerry Brown's settlement of litigation on 12 fraud charges on May 28, 2009. Was Sheriff Brown fraudulently representing himself as a candidate endorsed by an association of members of law enforcement, since COPS had been shown to have no connection with law enforcement prior to the 2010 election?


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