COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a $320,000 default judgment on Thursday against a charity and its owner for allegedly violating the terms of a November agreement.
Darien Smith agreed in November to dissolve TEEN USA and to not hold any position in or participate in soliciting donations for any Ohio charitable organization. Smith also agreed to make $10,000 in payments to DeWine's office.
Smith allegedly failed to dissolve TEEN USA, failed to make payments and failed to stop soliciting charitable donations.
"Through TEEN USA, teens went door-to-door selling candy, but the money raised was not used for charitable purposes," DeWine said. "We believe this group, and others like it, may still be operating in the Cleveland area, and we urge anyone who encounters a suspicious solicitation to contact the Ohio attorney general's office immediately."
Between 2010 and 2013, Smith allegedly misappropriated funds while running TEEN USA. Smith allegedly solicited teenagers to sell candy in the Cleveland area as a fundraiser for TEEN USA, but he failed to contribute the money toward a charitable purpose. He allegedly let the teens keep some of the money while keeping a larger portion for himself.
Under the terms of the default judgment, Smith and TEEN USA must pay a $320,000 civil penalty of liquidated damages. The judgment prohibits Smith and TEEN USA from soliciting for any Ohio charitable purposes and grants relief to enforce the terms of the previous agreement.