CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has reached a multistate settlement to stop a fundraising operation that relied on mostly unlawful robocalls.
According to the AG’s office, the operation involved multiple defendants contacting 67 million consumers with 1.3 billion deceptive charitable fundraising calls since at least 2008.
One of the companies made more than 13.5 million calls into West Virginia between 2016 and 2019. Nearly 7,000 of those calls were made more than 100 times per year to the same number, officials explained.
“This agreement demonstrates that we remain vigilant in our pursuit of bad actors who seek to dupe generous West Virginians into spending money on sham charities,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Scammers and those who conduct unlawful operations should make no mistake: We will enforce the law at every turn.”
Associated Community Services (ACS) of Michigan and several related defendants agreed to resolve allegations that the companies scammed Americans into donating to charities that failed to provide the services that ACS had promised the charities would. Court documents stated that the defendants collected more than $110 million using deceptive solicitations and high-pressure tactics, very little of which actually went to charitable purposes.
Court documents also detailed that the defendants knew the organizations for which they fundraised spent little or no money on the charitable causes they claimed to support — in some cases as little as one-tenth of one percent.
In some instances, the defendants kept as much as 90 cents of every dollar they solicited, according to court documents.
The settlement involves the Federal Trade Commission and 46 agencies from 38 states and the District of Columbia. The agreement is pending court approval.