Several West Michigan non-profit agencies are recovering from fraud.

The Washington Post reports more than 1,000 non-profit organizations have reported significant loss over the past five years, including several in west Michigan.

"There are over two million non-profit groups that are registered with the federal government. There is over $4.5 trillion worth of assets. Crooks go where the money is."

Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan tells WOOD Radio non-profits are a popular target for thieves due to their very nature.

"They ( non-profits ) are kind-hearted and want to look at people in the nicest possible way rather than having an element of skepticism and questioning certain practices."

Catlett says often times non-profits are reluctant to prosecute due to their kind-heartedness or because they can't afford it, and often times the employees involved in the fraud move on to another non-profit and steal again.

A key role of the BBB serving Western Michigan is to provide transparency to donors about non-profits, and assist charitable organizations in best practices. A 2012 study concluded that non-profits and religious organizations account for one-sixth of major embezzlements, placing second only to the financial-services industry.