BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Wednesday that the founder of a professional fundraising company was ordered to pay $125,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations of using deceptive tactics.
Thomas Gity Jr., the founder of the Rhode Island-based Dynamic Marketing Solutions Inc., allegedly engaged in statutory violations and deceptive practices when soliciting money for Bay State Vietnam Veterans Inc., a Somerset-based veterans charity. Dynamic allegedly deceived potential donors by falsely stating that 100 percent of donations would benefit veterans, when 85 percent of the funds went back to Dynamic for its fundraising efforts.
"This defendant is being held responsible for misleading donors to believe that all donations were going directly to benefit veterans when in fact a very small percentage was going to that purpose," Coakley said. "We are pleased that the court granted our request for civil penalties from this defendant for knowingly taking advantage of the public's trust."
Dynamic's fundraisers also allegedly misled possible donors by falsely stating that donations would benefit veterans living in the donors' communities, that they were volunteers for the charity and that they were veterans returning from Afghanistan. The fundraisers also allegedly failed to inform donors that they were professional fundraisers, which is required by state law.
Under the terms of the final judgment, Gity must pay $125,000 in civil penalties. Gity, his employees and anyone else involved in the operation are permanently prohibited from being involved in a Massachusetts public charity or any entity soliciting funds from Massachusetts residents. Gity and his employees are also prohibited from engaging in any deceptive acts while conducting solicitation or fundraising.
A lawsuit remains pending against Dynamic, Bay State and John Chaves, Dynamic's president.