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Leader Of Closed Charity Hit With Multiple Fraud Charges
Leader Of Closed Charity Hit With Multiple Fraud Charges

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann has charged Travis Singhaus, CEO of an alleged nonprofit that supposedly assists people at or near the point of homelessness, with forgery, unauthorized use of a name, and multiple counts of theft, fraud and criminal impersonation. Singhaus’s supposed organization, Denver-based Impact Locally, is not listed on GuideStar, and some of the charges stem from his alleged use of employer identification numbers (EINs) from other nonprofits.

Singhaus was charged with eight felony counts, theft, three counts of charitable fraud and three counts of criminal impersonation. Singhaus was arrested on Jan. 9 at Denver International Airport after returning from an overseas trip. The arrest was made by agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Denver police officers.

Singhaus has posted a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and was released. He did not surrender his passport, but he did agree to a Waiver of Extradition, according to Denver DA’s office Communication Director Carolyn Tyler. Singhaus is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Denver District Court on Feb. 3.

According to Singhaus’s arrest warrant, the concerns were first brought to McCann’s office by a grant-issuing organization that runs a donor-advised fund. Before the initial disbursements, Singhaus had given the grantor what is alleged to be a forged IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter with his organization’s name and address on it.

The EIN on the determination letter was registered to another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Impact Network, as of July 2016, but the address was different from the one provided by Singhaus. A representative from the grantor organization told investigators she was aware that GuideStar listings could contain out-of-date information, or that nonprofits occasionally operated under different dba names.

Singhaus allegedly ignored the grantor’s efforts to have him explain or correct the inconsistencies, according to the arrest warrant. 

The organization, the name of which was redacted from the publicly available copy of the arrest warrant, made a total of $349,000 in grants to Singhaus between January 2019 and August 2021, primarily through a series of monthly $10,000 checks. The donations were inspired by a private donor who had pointed the grantor toward Singhaus. The name(s) of the individuals within the grantor who were responsible for verifying information and coordinating with Singhaus also were redacted.

In March 2021, Singhaus was given $44,000 to purchase a 14-passenger van, allegedly so Impact Network could take kids on hiking trips. Investigators were not able to discover a registration for a passenger van under his name or the names of any of the organizations he had claimed, including Impact Humanity, Impact Locally and Impact Network.

According to a former employee who cooperated with the Denver DA’s office, Singhaus used the check to purchase a 2020 Toyota 4Runner for himself, and soon after directed an associate to determine if any company had a 14-person passenger van for rent.

In September 2021, the grantor received notification that Impact Network’s 501(c)(3) status had been revoked in November 2020 due to failure to file necessary forms for three years. Further investigation revealed that Impact Network had closed operations in July 2018

Amid growing concerns, the organization filed a complaint with the Denver District Attorney’s office regarding Singhaus, aka Travis Wayne Smith, and the various Impact organizations. 

Separately, another individual made a complaint against Singhaus and Impact Locally, claiming in July 2017 the individual and a friend had bid $1,500 for a trip during a silent auction for Impact Locally. When the complainant attempted to book the trip, it was discovered that Singhaus and Impact Locally had not paid the travel agent for the trip. Singhaus would later claim to an investigator that his organization had lost money on the silent auction event, and produced a screen shot that purportedly showed Signhaus had issued a refund to the bidder. After being asked to provide the refund verification in paper form, Singhaus broke off contact with the investigator.

Singhaus also allegedly set up a GoFundMe page that solicited donations for Impact Locally and Impact Humanity. The page, which was set up as a personal, as opposed to a charity donation site, netted Singhaus at least $5,000.