Corbett reaches $270,000 settlement with fraudulent charity

Drew Smith Oct. 8, 2008, 11:36am

Tom Corbett (R)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has reached a $270,000 settlement that will reimburse more than 2,100 Pennsylvania consumers who purchased a charity raffle ticket.

The settlement requires the Hope Cancer Treatment Foundation and its president, Robert McConnell, to pay $269,625 in restitution to those who purchased tickets to the "Black and Gold Bash," a 2006 Pittsburgh-area event that was supposed to benefit a cancer charity.

Corbett claims consumers purchased $75 tickets believing the proceeds would benefit the organization. Promoters also promised high-value prizes, including automobiles and a $75,000 cash award.

Corbett took action to halt the ticket sales after determining the Hope Cancer Treatment Foundation and the "Black and Gold Bash" were not registered charities in Pennsylvania.

"This was a complicated financial investigation and a lengthy legal battle," Corbett said, "but from the start we have always insisted on full repayment to consumers who had hoped for a chance to win large prizes while helping a charity - and that is exactly what will now happen."

The agreement requires McConnell to repay the money within 30 days and requires his foundation to be closed and dissolved within 120 days.

Corbett's office was able to document sales of 3,595 tickets to 2,131 consumers. Each consumer will receive restitution for each $75 ticket and the small amount of nay interest earned on the escrowed funds.

"Based on the court-approved payment deadlines, we expect to begin mailing restitution checks to consumers in mid-November," Corbett said. "We have a record of all consumers who filed valid claims, so consumers do not need to take any additional action in order to get their refunds."

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