LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - An Arkansas organization has reached a settlement with the state over allegations it solicited funds in 2013 from state residents and lied about where the funds were going, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Tuesday.
USA Publishing will pay the state $121,000, which will be returned to Arkansas donors. The company allegedly said the funds would benefit the state's emergency responders, but the solicitation was actually on behalf of New Jersey-based National Police Defense Foundation.
“It is troubling to think that an Arkansas-based company assisted an out-of-state charity with ripping off Arkansas donors, but that is exactly what USA Publishing did,” Rutledge said in a statement. “Arkansans were tricked into thinking that their donations were going to benefit local law enforcement and emergency responders.
"Con artists like this have no place in Arkansas, and the Attorney General’s Office will continue to protect consumers.”
USA Publishing will also pay $50,000 in civil penalties, and has agreed to stop its operations and fundraising activities in Arkansas, Rutledge said.
The National Police Defense Foundation reached a settlement with Rutledge's office in July 2014, and agreed to $120,000, which is about half of the $231,004 raised by USA Publishing. Rutledge said the foundation contributed about $500 of that amount to the state for charitable purposes, and the rest of it went to USA.