Seattle - August 13, 1998 - In its second action in eight months against the same firm, the Washington Attorney General's office has fined a New Jersey fundraiser $109,290 for violating a Court order that the firm agreed to obey just last December.
To file a complaint regarding a charitable solicitation call the AG's Office at 1-800-551-4636 (1-800-833-6384 for the hearing impaired)
Consumer tips and statutes regarding the charitable solicitations are also available on the Secretary of State's web site at www.wa.gov/sec/charities/tips.htm.
Attorney General Chris Gregoire last December sued Civic Development Group, LLC of Hopelawn, New Jersey, for using misleading fundraising tactics. The firm had been raising money in Washington for the Fraternal Order of Police and the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association. As a result of that lawsuit, Civic Development paid $55,000 in restitution and costs and was ordered by King County Superior Court to stop using illegal fundraising practices.
According to court papers filed this week by the Attorney General's Office, Civic started making fundraising calls again earlier this year without permission from the Troopers' Association and with a phone script that violated the Court order. When the Troopers' Association and the AG found out, they ordered Civic last March to stop making any calls to Washington state.
Gregoire contends that Civic's solicitors were still claiming to be “from” or “with” the Troopers' Association, and they failed to disclose they were really paid solicitors working for a fundraising company. The state lawsuit also accuses Civic of failing to tell consumers that none of the money contributed would benefit any law enforcement agency, failing to produce tape recordings of their calls, and misleading some consumers by telling them they had contributed before to the Troopers' Association when in fact they had not.
“Every call Civic's phone solicitors made into this State in 1998 violated the law,” Gregoire said.
Civic agreed this week to pay a $109,290 fine, which equals the amount of the money the firm raised in Washington state this year.
Gregoire urged consumers to be cautious when responding to telephone fundraisers. "Ask questions and verify the answers," said Gregoire. "Check with the Secretary of State's Office to find out if the fund-raiser is registered, how the donation will be used and what percentage is going directly to the cause you want to support."
To check on a commercial fund-raiser or charity, call the Secretary of State's Charities Information Hotline at 1-800-332-4483 (360-753-1485 for the hearing impaired), or e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.