COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Friday that civil charges were filed against a Cleveland charity and its owner for allegedly violating the terms of an assurance of discontinuance related to soliciting donations.
DeWine reached an agreement with TEEN USA and Darien Smith in November in which Smith agreed to dissolve the organization, to not hold any position in or participate in soliciting donations for any charitable organization and to pay $10,000 to DeWine's office. Smith allegedly failed to dissolve TEEN USA, failed to make payments to DeWine's office and continued to actively solicit in the Cleveland area.
Through TEEN USA, teens went door-to-door selling candy, but the money raised was not contributed to charitable purposes.
"Repeated violations committed by phony charitable organizations such as TEEN USA will not be taken lightly," DeWine said. "My office will do everything in its power to make sure justice is served in this case."
DeWine obtained a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Smith and TEEN USA, requiring them to cease all charitable solicitations in Ohio and freezing all associated bank accounts from further activity.
Between 2010 and 2013, Smith allegedly misappropriated funds from TEEN USA by allowing the teens to keep some of the money for themselves while keeping the majority of the money for himself.