SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California Police Youth Charities raised millions of dollars, but now there are questions about how much is actually going to the children.

The statewide charity claims to provide productive activities to at-risk youth, but tonight there are questions surrounding the Roseville-based California Police Youth Charities.

“Frankly, it’s just a disgusting misuse of the nonprofit forum, because people are in good faith saying ‘I want to help,’” said Jessica Levinson, a law professor and chair of the L.A. Ethics Commission.

“You’re seeing upwards of 80 percent not used for the charitable purpose. So used for paying telemarketers, used for overhead, miscellaneous expenses,” she said.

The way the charity gets most of its funds is using telemarketing companies to call and plead for donations, but let’s look at the numbers.

According to the forms most recently available, the charity used a telemarketing firm to raise more than $2.5 million in donations, but it paid that firm $2.2 million of what came in, leaving the charity with less than $400,000.

In 2012, telemarketing brought in $2.28 million, but the firm was paid just over $2 million, leaving them with less than $300,000.

In 2013, calls brought in $1.75 million, but after paying the telemarketers, the charity earned about $250,000.

Over the course of three years, out of nearly $5 million from telemarketing, the charity held on to less than $1 million.

Much of the rest of the budget seems to go to operating costs, including a CEO salary of more than $80,000 for Chris Eaton. He refused to speak on camera, opting instead to send a long email claiming the charity does more than what’s on the tax forms:

“CPYC is a legitimate non-profit organization that has helped kids and organizations that benefit kids for many years. We will continue to do this and we will continue to adhere to the state of California laws and the rules set forth by the Office of Charitable Trusts.”

For former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis, it’s frustrating to learn about.

“The good name of law enforcement I think is being compromised,” he said. “Among the losers in an enterprise like this is the fact that it takes money that would otherwise go to, under more efficient circumstances, a very worthy cause.”

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