Bay State Vietnam Veterans, Inc. and Dynamic Marketing Solutions, Inc. - the company the group hired to help solicit donations - are being sued by Attorney General Martha Coakley, who alleges they lied to prospective donors to encourage contributions.
The alleged deception includes professional solicitors claiming to be veterans returning from Afghanistan who were volunteering for the organization. The lawsuit also says telephone solicitors claimed that all the money raised would benefit the charity, when only 15 cents on the dollar did. The rest was pocketed by Dynamic Marketing, Coakley's office said.
Dynamic’s president, John Chaves of Warren, R.I., and founder Thomas Gity, Jr. of Pompano Beach, Fla. were also named in the lawsuit.
“We allege that these defendants took advantage of the public’s trust by knowingly misleading potential donors while soliciting money for veterans,” Coakley said. “We allege that these organizations falsely claimed that all donations were going directly to benefit veterans when in fact a very small percentage was going to that purpose. There are many worthy veterans charities that deserve our support - people should be confident that they are not being misled and that their hard earned money is going to the intended purpose.”
Dynamic's solicitors were required to inform people they called that they were paid professional fundraisers, but did not, Coakley's office said.
A temporary restraining order was issued barring the charity and fundraisers from transferring money that has been raised.
Paid solicitors are required to report to the state how much they collect relative to how much goes to the charity. Here is the most recent solicitors report from the state.
You can also look up Massachusetts charity filings here.
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Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com