AG Says Police Defense Foundation Is Bogus

     LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) – A phony charity calling itself the National Police Defense Foundation donated “almost none” of the $231,000 it collected for Arkansas first responders, and impersonated police and firefighters along the way, the state attorney general claims in court.
     Arkansas sued the National Police Defense Foundation, the USA Publishing Group, and their former and current presidents William and Kathleen Parker, in Pulaski County Court.
     Attorney General Dustin McDaniel claims the Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit, used USA Publishing telemarketers to solicit donations on commission.
     “While soliciting donations, USAP employees made numerous misleading, untrue, false, or otherwise deceptive statements to prospective donors,” the attorney general says in the complaint.
     “USAP and its telemarketers from time to time represented themselves as police officers, firefighters, deputy sheriffs, or other first responders, when they were not. USAP and its telemarketers falsely represented themselves, either directly or indirectly, to be volunteers, rather than paid, professional fundraisers, or otherwise failed to affirmatively disclose their paid, professional status, as required by law.”
     The Foundation operated in Arkansas under a variety of names, including the Arkansas Police Defense Foundation, the Deputy Sheriffs and Peace Officers Foundation, and the Firefighters & EMS Foundation.
     “NPDF collected a total of $231,004.92 in donations from Arkansas consumers and business using its three assumed names. These donations were made in response to solicitations by USAP, and directly to NPDF via PayPal,” the complaint states.
     “Of the thousands of dollars collected in Arkansas, almost none were used for charitable purposes in the State of Arkansas. The majority of the funds were retained by the professional fundraiser (USAP and the USAP defendants), with the rest going to the New Jersey-based defendant, NPDF.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Of the $231,005 collected, the defendants gave $500 – 0.2% – to Arkansas charities, the attorney general says.
     The complaint includes a chart that shows that 74 percent of the money raised in Arkansas – $171,100 – was “used to pay fundraising costs and operating costs.”
     “The remaining funds were used for activities unrelated to the purposes represented to donors, including extensive international travel by the executive director of NPDF,” the complaint states.
     Executive director Joseph Occhipinti, of New Jersey resident, is not a party to the complaint.
     William Parker is former president of the for-profit USA Publishing Group and his wife, Kathleen Parker, is the current president, according to the complaint.
     The attorney general seeks restitution to donors, and civil penalties of $10,000 per violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, including making misrepresentations while soliciting funds from Arkansas consumers, misleadingly implying association with other charitable organizations without consent and using an Arkansas address without maintaining an office in Arkansas.

%d bloggers like this: