The director of an advocacy group, who allegedly conducted a fundraiser while not registered, with the purpose of using the proceeds to pay her legal bills, will face the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria in November.
Monica Smit, 35, is the director of Reignite Democracy Australia Pty Ltd (RDA).
The appeal, held between September 2021 and October 2022, received more than $86,000 in donations after Smit made online requests for public donations to fund legal fees after Victoria Police charged her with a separate offence.
Smit also allegedly failed to provide the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria with documents and information required under the law.
Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Nicole Rich said Victorians should be able to have confidence that organisations they were donating to were registered fundraisers, and that the funds they collected would be used for the purposes stated.
‘We will investigate and act against organisations that expose communities to unlawful fundraising practices,’ Rich said.
All organisations conducting fundraising appeals in Victoria must register with CAV, unless they are lawfully exempt.
‘We will ensure fundraising activities are transparent and protect the public interest.’
Smit and RDA have been charged with offences under sections 17A and 44 of the Fundraising Act 1998. The maximum penalty for each offence is over $46,000 for a company and over $23,000 and/or up to 12 months jail for individuals.
There will be a mention hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 22 November 2023.