Fundraising co. banned from soliciting in Ohio for five years
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced an agreement on Wednesday with a Tennessee company to discontinue soliciting charitable funds in Ohio for at least five years.
Non-Profit Services, based in Nashville, Tenn., raised funds in Ohio on behalf of several charities. Non-Profit Services agreed to an assurance of discontinuance with DeWine's office that, for five years, will prevent them from soliciting for any charitable purpose in Ohio.
As part of the agreement, Non-Profit Services will withdraw and not renew its registration as a professional solicitor, refrain from acting as fundraising counsel to any charitable organization and refrain from conducting charitable sales promotions.
"The Ohio attorney general's office has an obligation to protect Ohio's charitable donors and their rights to not be misled about where their donations go," DeWine said. "This agreement shows that we will take strong actions against professional solicitors who take advantage of Ohioans' generosity."
DeWine's office previously sought action against the company for several alleged violations of the Ohio Charitable Organizations Act. DeWine alleged that Non-Profit Services mislead potential donors by sending pledge confirmations to donors when no pledge had been made, falsely told donors that charities would receive a larger percentage of funds than they actually received, failed to file solicitation notices and financial reports in a timely manner with DeWine's office, and failed to disclose that they were a paid fundraiser.
Professional solicitors who operate or solicit funds in Ohio must register with DeWine's office, which provides oversight to make sure donations are not misappropriated and that charitable proceeds are in fact used for charitable purposes.
"This case serves as a reminder that it is always a good idea to ask a lot of questions when making a charitable donation," DeWine said. "Gathering additional information can help Ohio donors make certain their limited resources will be properly used."