Bryan Cohen Sep. 26, 2013, 7:10pm

LIMA, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit and was granted a temporary restraining order Wednesday against a Youngstown-area solicitor and its agents for allegedly deceiving donors while soliciting for charities.

Encore Music Productions Ltd. and its agents, Sharp Productions, M.V.P. Productions LLC and Phil's Productions LLC, allegedly lied to donors by saying 100 percent of donations went to a local charity when only 10 percent to 33 percent went to charity; failed to identify themselves as professional solicitors; failed to properly register with DeWine's office; trained telemarketers to falsely identify themselves as firefighters or volunteers; and hired more than 22 recently convicted felons as telemarketers in violation of Ohio law.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane also filed a lawsuit against Encore Music Productions.

"These telemarketers used misleading tactics to solicit donations from Ohio families under the pretense of supporting police and firefighters," DeWine said. "In some cases, they even pretended to be firefighters.

"This situation required immediate action to prevent further deception and fraud. Ohioans deserve to know the truth about their donations."

The lawsuit, which names 18 defendants, alleges violations of Ohio's Corrupt Activities Act and the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act.

DeWine's suit seeks an order to shut down the business, redistribution of its assets to legitimate charities, civil penalties and other costs.

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