Thursday, December 5 2013 5:57 AM EST2013-12-05 10:57:48 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A judge ruled the two teenagers accused of killing a contractor and father to be tried as adults. A murder victim's wife faced the suspect killers in a courtroom Wednesday. "Extremely difficultMore >>
A judge ruled the two teenagers accused of killing a contractor and father to be tried as adults.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 5:55 AM EST2013-12-05 10:55:52 GMT
(WMC-TV) - You are invited to join Action News 5 behind the scenes for what has become an annual holiday tradition. For the fifth year, members of the Action News Five family will sing Christmas carolsMore >>
You are invited to join Action News 5 behind the scenes for what has become an annual holiday tradition.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 5:54 AM EST2013-12-05 10:54:53 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Imagine the number of people it would take to fill 10 FedExForum arenas. That is how many people the Mid-South Food Bank provides emergency food and assistance to each year. Out of the estimatedMore >>
From sunrise to sunset you gave, and our team across eight locations had fun at the same time – all to stock the shelves of the Mid-South Food Bank.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 5:47 AM EST2013-12-05 10:47:25 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Some Germantown residents will notice their mail looking a little bit different Tuesday. A fire extinguisher burst at a post office, sending a white substance into the air, which ended up coveringMore >>
Some Germantown residents will notice their mail looking a little bit different Tuesday.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 5:46 AM EST2013-12-05 10:46:45 GMT
(WMC-TV) - With a busy weekend ahead, and the threat of wintry weather in the air, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness is keeping a close eye on the conditions. The Emergency Operations Center willMore >>
With a busy weekend ahead, and the threat of wintry weather in the air, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness is keeping a close eye on the conditions.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC TV) - Shortcomings in both Tennessee's charity law and the federal tax code allow certain religious charities to solicit donations with little proof of their credentials.
The Action News 5 Investigators discovered this "beggar's loophole" after receiving several viewer e-mails about "Stepping Out On Faith Restoration Ministries," based at 3414 Scenic Highway.
Viewers explained the ministry's solicitors have been camped out at area intersections, asking for money.
"We house men and women that are bound by drugs, alcohol, gang violence and prostitution in a 9-month Christian opportunity," said Sister Jennifer Suluki of the organization.
It took The Action News 5 Investigators nearly a week to verify the group is a legitimate religious charity because it is neither registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State's Division of Charitable Solicitations & Gaming, nor does it maintain its own tax-exemption with the IRS.
That's because neither is required.
Kevin Snider, a Germantown attorney and certified fraud examiner, reviewed the language of Tennessee's Charitable Solicitations Act. It exempts "bona fide religious institutions" from registration, including "...groups which do not maintain specific places of worship and which are not subject to federal income tax..."
"You could fit anything under that," Snider said.
The loophole widens even more when you consider the IRS's guidelines for "group exemptions."
The federal tax code allows multiple religious charities with multiple locations to be affiliated under one central charity's 501(c)(3) tax-exemption. On the IRS web site's FAQ section on group exemptions, it said, "Must the central organization be recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt...? No."
That makes it very difficult for consumers to verify religious-based charities.
"You would actually have to, one, first find out who the group is, who they are affiliated with, are they a 501(c)(3)," said Snider. "According to (the IRS's) definition, there would be no end to groups piggy-backing another charity's tax-exemption."
The Action News 5 Investigators confirmed "Stepping Out On Faith Restoration Ministries" is recognized under a federal group exemption. Pastor Virgil Perry of Adonai Community Outreach Ministries under New Testament Baptist Church, 963 Florida St. -- which does have a verifiable tax-exemption -- confirmed his church's exemption includes Suluki's ministry.
However, Suluki's solicitors are supposed to show written proof of the 501(c)(3) affiliation to the people they solicit.
The ones we caught on camera asking for cash at Germantown Parkway and Dexter in Cordova, TN, did not carry documentation proving the affiliation.
"They were supposed to," said Suluki. "If they didn't have one, then it was shame on them that day."
The solicitors in Cordova apologized, explaining that they were unaware they had to show proof of the tax exemption.
Verifying religious charities/ministries * If they are soliciting cash donations in public (sidewalks, intersections, etc.), they must produce written proof of their group's 501 (c)(3) status or affiliation
Wednesday, December 4 2013 11:44 PM EST2013-12-05 04:44:48 GMT
(WMC-TV) – According to the Olive Branch Police Department, a 6-year-old was hit by a car while running to meet the school bus, Wednesday morning. This happened at Fox Hunt Drive and Alexander Road, nearMore >>
According to the Olive Branch Police Department, a 6-year-old was hit by a car while running to meet the school bus, Wednesday morning.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 5:52 AM EST2013-12-04 10:52:56 GMT
(WMC-TV) – The Memphis Fire Department was called to a late night fire at what once was the River City Barbeque restaurant in South Memphis. The building located in 3400 block of Cazassa, has been vacantMore >>
he Memphis Fire Department was called to a late night fire at what once was the River City Barbeque restaurant in South Memphis.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:02 AM EST2013-12-04 11:02:45 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A man was critically shot in a South Memphis residential area Monday, according to preliminary information from Memphis police. Police responded to 345 South Parkway East around 7:30 p.m.More >>
A robbery victim has died one day after being shot and Memphis police need the public's help finding three suspected gunmen.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 11:31 PM EST2013-12-04 04:31:47 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A mother and four children escaped a dramatic fire along Interstate 40 partially because of a passing motorist. That motorist happens to be an undercover DEA agent, and he believes it was moreMore >>
A mother and four children escaped a dramatic fire along Interstate 40 partially because of a passing motorist.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 11:57 PM EST2013-12-04 04:57:13 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Memphis police responded to Minglewood Hall on Madison Avenue in Midtown after receiving a shooting call. Dispatch said they have a wounding outside in the parking area of the building. TheMore >>
Memphis police responded to Minglewood Hall on Madison Avenue in Midtown after receiving a shooting call Tuesday. When arriving on the scene, officers found someone was stabbed in the finger.More >>
Monday, December 2 2013 6:01 AM EST2013-12-02 11:01:47 GMT
(WMC-TV) - The father of an unborn child is under arrest after police say he shot the woman carrying his baby. Jonathan Turner, 32, was arrested Friday, accused of shooting a woman several times as sheMore >>
The father of an unborn child is under arrest after police say he shot the woman carrying his baby.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 12:35 PM EST2013-12-04 17:35:11 GMT
(KSDK) - Not many of us can say we have saved a life, but 9-year-old Emily Ogle of Roxana, Illinois did just that earlier this week. "Well, I was just sitting there eating my lunch and then I looked overMore >>
Not many of us can ever boast of saving a life, but 9-year-old Emily Ogle of Roxana, Illinois did so earlier this week.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 11:07 PM EST2013-12-04 04:07:13 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Police responded to two separate, critical shootings Tuesday afternoon. Officers found a man shot at 273 Carpenter Street near East Memphis shortly before 5:30 p.m. In a separate, unrelatedMore >>
Police responded to two separate, critical shootings Tuesday afternoon.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 5:52 PM EST2013-12-03 22:52:08 GMT
Eleanor Turner passed away in a hospice facility early Friday morning. While her son and daughter were debating whether to tell Eleanor's husband Frank, another phone call came. Frank Turner passedMore >>
In the Sunday edition of the Charlotte Observer, Page 7 B, you find a story of a love so true, even death didn't part them for long.More >>