Mass. AG says charity violated law
BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a court order on Friday requiring a veterans charity and its professional fundraiser to stop allegedly deceptive money-raising practices.
The preliminary injunction was obtained on Thursday in conjunction with a lawsuit filed by Coakley's office against the Somerset-based Bay State Vietnam Veterans Inc. and the Rhode Island-based fundraiser Dynamic Marketing Solutions Inc.
Also named as defendants in the lawsuit were John Chaves, the president of Dynamic, and Thomas Gity, Jr., Dynamic's founder. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated the state's consumer protection and charitable solicitation laws during a phone solicitation campaign.
"We are pleased that the court granted our request for an injunction against fraudulent fundraising while this case is pending," Coakley said. "We allege these organizations misled donors to believe that all of their donations were going to directly benefit veterans, when in fact 85 percent of their donations were going to the solicitor."
Under the terms of the order, the defendants must account for money raised from Massachusetts residents in 2011 and 2012 in the next 30 days, must not destroy or change records while the lawsuit is pending, and must not engage in deceptive practices while soliciting charitable Massachusetts donations.
If any of the defendants violate the preliminary injunction, they can be subject to up to a $10,000 civil penalty.
Coakley's lawsuit seeks $5,000 in civil penalties for each deceptive act proven in court.
Judge Janet Sanders issued a temporary restraining order on Aug. 16 to bar the fundraisers and the charity from transferring funds raised and from destroying fundraising records.