AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott secured a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze on Monday against the Texas Highway Patrol Association and two of its affiliate organizations.
Last week, Abbott alleged that THPA, the Texas Highway Patrol Museum, THPA Services Inc. and several senior THPA officials illegally solicited charitable donations and falsely claimed, in part, that donors' contributions would benefit the families of fallen state police officers. A temporary receiver was appointed by the Travis County Probate Court, which will also set a temporary injunction hearing on a date to be determined.
The defendants allegedly purported to provide death benefits to slain law enforcement officers' families. The state alleges that few survivors actually received any financial assistance. The defendants allegedly used the donors' charitable contributions for their personal use, including unauthorized travel, entertainment, in-house pet care, and meals for board members, their friends and their families.
Abbott also alleges that the defendants falsely claimed that THPA is a tax exempt, charitable organization registered with the IRS. THPA, however, is allegedly a non-profit business league organized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(6) and, as a result, is not actually a charitable organization.
Additionally, the defendants face civil penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for promoting all three entities by falsely claiming that the organizations were connected to the Highway Patrol Division within the Texas Department of Public Safety. The HPD is not affiliated with the defendants