Bondi sues New Jersey corporation over alleged charity scam

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 21, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - On Friday, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sued a New Jersey corporation for allegedly operating an illegal raffle.

American Children's Cancer Association, or ACCA, allegedly registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to solicit charitable contributions out of a Boca Raton virtual office without making key disclosures. ACCA allegedly failed to disclose an injunction obtained against the company in New Jersey.

In addition, Shaun Heusen, ACCA's president; Joseph Way, the company's vice president; and Peter Kelly, the company's real estate agent, allegedly violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Solicitation of Funds Act and Gambling Act by soliciting charitable contributions for a Florida dream home raffle with no realistic ability or intent to award the prize.

"Taking advantage of people who are seeking to make charitable contributions to help others is deplorable, and we will hold these individuals accountable for these alleged actions," Bondi said.

ACCA allegedly offered and sold $80 raffle tickets to give away a multi-million dollar house in Lighthouse Point. The organization allegedly collected more than $116,000 in revenue and spent less than $6,000 on program expenses.

The attorney general's lawsuit seeks full restitution, civil penalties of $10,000 per violation, attorney fees and other relief. The suit also seeks a permanent injunction and to prohibit the defendants from engaging in any future business activity involving the solicitation of contributions through a raffle or drawing.

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