State Calls Cancer Charities Frauds

     DENVER (CN) – A Colorado man misrepresents his profit-seeking company Boobies Rock! as a charity and pays female models to sell novelty items by falsely claiming to donate most of his profits to breast cancer charities, the state attorney general says in court.
     Colorado sued Adam Cole Shryock, of Castle Rock, and his companies Boobies Rock! aka The Se7ven Group, and Say No 2 Cancer, in Denver County Court.
     “Defendant BR sells T-shirts, beer koozies, bracelets, and other items with images and/or slogans that are pro-breast or anti-cancer,” Attorney General John Suthers says in the complaint. “Although it sells these items on its website, the bulk of BR’s business is conducted through in-person sales at bars and sporting events. BR will send two or more female promotional models to a bar or to a tailgating event to walk around and sell its merchandise.
     “BR held its ‘promotions’ all over the country, and held promotions in Colorado, primarily in Denver, from approximately Feb. 27, 2012 through Nov. 18, 2012.
     “Shryock and his employees instructed promotional models to approach potential customers and represent that they were ‘taking donations’ rather than selling merchandise. The models were further instructed to refer to BR as a ‘charitable company’ and to only disclose the BR was a for-profit entity if asked.
     “Shryock told models to tell customers that percentage of the BR’s net proceeds would go to charity. Some models report that they were told to say anywhere from 40 percent to 80-90 percent of BR revenue went to charity, others were told to be vague about the amount of money going to charity.
     “Oftentimes consumers would opt to make a cash donation to BR rather than purchase any merchandise. These donations were co-mingled with merchandise revenues.
     “Several of the bars where BR sold merchandise were under the impression that BR was a charity. BR promotions managers told bars that BR was taking contributors for breast cancer related causes, and that all of the proceeds would go to said causes. Bar managers state that had they known that BR was a for-profit company they would not have allowed BR models to come in and sell merchandise.”
     Shryock also uses other companies’ names without their permission to solicit money, the attorney general says: “BR regularly invoked the names of legitimate breast cancer charities in its fundraising appeals. However, none of those charities gave permission to BR to use their names, and BR/Shryock was giving little or no money to these organizations unless forced to do so.
     “From March 2012 until approximately November 2012, Shryock instructed models to say that BR was ‘partnering with’ or raising money on behalf of the Pink Fund, a Michigan-based breast cancer charity. Shryock told models the BR had pledged $50,000 to Pink Fund, and that models should tell customers that BR was attempting to meet this fundraising goal.
     “BR company documents stated that 40 percent of all purchases would be donated to the Pink Fund for a period of six months, or until the $50,000 goal was reached.
     “In fact, Pink Fund had never partnered with BR not consented to BR using the Pink Fund name in soliciting funds. In the fall of 2012, Pink Fund discovered that BR was using its name to sell BR merchandise and advised BR that it needed to cease and desist using its name in BR’s solicitations. BR ultimately gave Pink Fund $50,000 to avoid a lawsuit. Prior to this payment, BR had not given any money to Pink Fund,” according to the complaint.
     On its website, checked this morning, Boobies Rock! claims to be “one of the largest advocates for the awareness of breast cancer across the U.S.,” and claims that it “helps raise money for individuals battling breast cancer through small fundraising events.”
     But Colorado claims Shryock’s deceptions and misrepresentations are mean to benefit Shryock.
     Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a similar complaint against Shryock in May.
     Attorney General Suthers disputes a claim on the Boobies Rock! website that the company donated $25,000 to Young Survival Coalition. The attorney general says that donation was made “to settle a lawsuit.”
     Shryock did make donations of $100 and $250 to two cancer charities, the state says, but such de minimus payments “do not approach the claims by BR that 40-90 percent of BR’s net revenue will go to charity.”
     Suthers claims that Boobies Rock! had more than $1 million in its bank account as of December 2012, and that Shryock used corporate money to buy a BMW and pay for an online dating service.
     Shryock also lied about his unincorporated business Say No 2 Cancer, Colorado claims.
     “Solicitation materials for SN2C state that it is a Denver, Colorado based organization that provides financial assistance to those affected by cancer,” the complaint states. “SN2C materials state that SN2C is a nonprofit organization and a ‘nationwide 501(c)(3).’ According to one flyer posted on its Facebook page, SN2C was approved to become a national, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization on Feb. 19, 2013. The flyer additionally gives SN2C’s Tax ID number as 46-2070138.
     “SN2C additionally represents that it has contributed more than $350,000 over the past two years to cancer patients or cancer-related programs, even though it has only been in existence since January 2013.
     “SN2C is not incorporated in Colorado or any other jurisdiction as a nonprofit entity.
     “The IRS has no record SN2C as an approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Nor does the IRS have the Tax ID Number 46-2070138 associated with any approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.” (References to exhibits omitted.)
     Say No 2 Cancer uses the same business model as Boobies Rock!, and is just as phony, the attorney general says.
     Shryock pays his models/solicitors $10 to $20 an hour, “based upon the revenue generated,” the attorney general says in the complaint.
     He seeks an injunction and penalties for misrepresentations, violations of the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act and Consumer Protection Act, raising money under false pretenses, and other charges.
     

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