May 26, 2016

Minn. Sues Telemarketer Over Charity ‘Pledge Reminders’

Minnesota’s attorney general filed suit Wednesday against a professional fundraising firm that regulators allege barraged people with phony reminders of pledges they had not made, the Star Tribune reports. The case involves solicitations by Associated Community Services on behalf of the Foundation for American Veterans, a Michigan nonprofit that has raised nearly $930,000 from Minnesotans since 2011, according to Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office.

The suit accuses the Michigan-based telemarketer, known as ACS, of deceptive fundraising practices, including false phone and mail “pledge reminders” to people who had declined an initial solicitation. “We believe they were trying to guilt people into donating money they otherwise didn’t want to donate,” Ms. Swanson said.

ACS and affiliated companies have been the subject of investigations and legal settlements in several states. Ms. Swanson’s office said the firm gets about 85 percent of donations it secures for the Foundation for American Veterans and has been paid $27 million by the charity since 2010. ACS did not respond to the Star Tribune’s calls for comment.