DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) - It's the holiday season and the giving season …
But when you give, do you know where your money goes?
CBS 11's I-Team has uncovered new details about an international charitable organization based in North Texas that raises millions for the needy.
The I-Team first reported about Gospel for Asia last month when former members said the group's top leaders are too controlling.
Now we've obtained documents that question how millions of dollars in donations are being used by the group, also known as the GFA.
It only recently moved to its new, $30 million headquarters, tucked away on a farm-to-market road in Kaufman County, east of Dallas, near the town of Wills Point.
GFA receives an average of $50 million a year from donors around the world, all to help the needy in India and surrounding countries in Asia.
The I-Team has now obtained a report, prepared by a well-respected accrediting organization, that says GFA had "excessive cash balances" in "field accounts," totaling $250 million last year and $186 million this summer.
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, or ECFA, questioned in its report the GFA's continued "urgency" for more donations when the group already had so much money in the bank.
The accrediting group also reported that GFA had taken into India envelopes stuffed with cash -- all totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars, and raised concerns about GFA's failure to report that money, as required by law, to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Also in the report, the ECFA said Gospel for Asia used nearly $20 million in donations to help pay for its North Texas headquarters.
That money, the accrediting group said, was "donated for field purposes," and that using it instead to help pay for GFA's headquarters was a "violation" of ECFA's standards.
When the I-Team asked for a comment about the new details, GFA responded with a statement that said "we sincerely apologize to our donors for any hurt" the financial decisions caused.
If you have questions about where your money goes when you give, you can check out your charity of choice at one of the following websites:
IRS Exempt Organization Check
BBB Wise Giving Alliance
If you want to reach CBS 11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to reach CBS 11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her at email@example.com.
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