Pa. AG settles with telemarketer over solicitations

Nick Rees Sep. 19, 2012, 3:32pm


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced an agreement on Tuesday with a Lehigh County telemarketer over allegedly illegal charitable contribution solicitations.

Atlantic Productions, based in Allentown, allegedly portrayed its solicitors as members of fraternal organizations, including firefighters and police, while acting on behalf of a variety of non-profit organizations.

Atlantic raised funds for the Pennsylvania State Constables Association, the Reading Police Beneficial Association, the International Association of FireFighters Local 302 Allentown, the Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge #10 Allentown and the Rajah Shiners A.A.O.N.M.S. of Reading.

According to its assurance of voluntary compliance, Atlantic contacted consumers to solicit charitable donations but was not properly registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State. The company also allegedly misled donors into believing that the telemarketers were members of the organizations solicited for and not paid professional solicitors.

Some of the solicitors, Kelly said, actually had prior criminal records, including records for dishonesty and theft.

Donors were also led to believe that donations would go towards local municipalities. The donations actually were only used for membership or fraternal groups.

Under terms of the agreement, Atlantic will pay $75,000 in restitution, fines and penalties. The company will also record all solicitation calls, which will be searchable by date, time and phone number; operate in compliance with the Charities Act and Consumer Protection Law; stop making solicitations for charitable purposes on behalf of unregistered charitable organizations; train all telemarketers properly; and disclose paid professional solicitor's name and status clearly.

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