Island Gazette

AG Cooper Announces Settlement With Fundraiser

Misled Consumers About Contributions To Veterans’ And Police Charities;
FTC, states join to announce enforcement actions as part of “Operation False Charity”

RALEIGH, N.C. : May 20, 2009 – Attorney General Roy Cooper, along with 31 other state Attorneys General, announced a settlement as part of a nationwide federal-state crackdown against defendants who allegedly misled consumers by claiming to help veterans, police and firefighters.
“Using police, firefighters and veterans to mislead consumers about charitable contributions is just plain wrong,” said Cooper. “We need to support the legitimate charities in our communities instead of these outfits.”
Community Support, Inc., of Milwaukee, WI, solicited donations on behalf of charitable organizations through telemarketing and mailings. The Attorneys General charge that Community Support, Inc. used misleading statements about the charities and their connections to local communities to solicit donations.
Under today’s settlement, Community Support, Inc. is prohibited from misrepresenting information about a charity’s activities or how a donation will benefit the charity.
The fundraisers are also banned from misleading consumers about the portion of their donation that will actually benefit the charity
and falsely insisting that the consumer or a family member donated to a particular charity in the past.
The multi-state investigation revealed that Community Support, Inc. typically retained 80% or more of funds that it solicited for various organizations, including the North Carolina Chapter of the United States
Navy Veterans Association HQS, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, Inc. and the Reserve Police Officers Association.
Community Support, Inc. is registered to make calls for NC charities but the Attorney General’s Office has not received complaints at this time although others states have. North Carolina
consumers are encouraged to file a complaint with Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division if they have experienced a problem.
The states’ settlement with Community Support, Inc. is being announced as part of a nationwide, federal-state crackdown on fraudulent charitable solicitors claiming to help police, firefighters, and veterans. Attorney General Cooper joined the Federal Trade Commission and Attorneys General, Secretaries of State, and other law enforcers in 48states and the District of Columbia today to announce “Operation False Charity.” Federal and state enforcers together announced 76 law enforcement actions against 32 fundraising companies, 22nonprofits, and 31 individuals.
Also, the FTC and state agencies released new education materials to help consumers recognize and avoid charitable solicitation fraud.
“Making a donation to a charity can be a great way to give back,” said Cooper. “But before you hand over your hard earned money, make sure you find out where your money will go and how it will help.”
 To learn more about charitable giving or to file a complaint about a charity scam, visit www.ncdoj.gov.

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