Wyclef Jean Accused of Embezzlement with Charity Money
According to a report published by The New York Post, R&B singer Wyclef Jean raised $16 million for his earthquake relief fund last year but not even one-third of that amount was spent on direct relief activities in his native country Haiti.
The newspaper accused Jean's charity Yele Haiti of wasting millions of dollars and handing out large sums to companies that cannot be traced or in some cases, don't even exist.
The NY Post further revealed that Yele Haiti also gave $353,983 to P&A Construction, whose owner Warnel Pierre is Jean's brother-in-law.
The "Earthquake" singer founded his charity organisation with the help of his cousin Jerry Duplessis in 2005 but its activities were questioned long before Haiti was struck by the devastating earthquake last year. The duo started filing Yele Haiti's tax reforms only after being ordered to do so by the IRS in 2008, which means that the group's spending in the preceding years wasn't recorded.
In 2009, Jean's charity lost $244,000 and soon after last year's quake, the former Fugees member started his famous $5 donation Twitter campaign, which was a massive hit.
Just a few days after that, allegations of embezzling with the charity money were levelled against Jean and Duplessis. It was reported that their Haitian TV channel received $250,000 from Yele Haiti, after which, he had to publicly defend his name from any wrongdoing, although he did admit that the charity's money was mismanaged sometimes.
In a January 2010 media interview, an emotional Jean said, "Have we made mistakes before? Yes. Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not. Yele's books are open and transparent."