Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement that will ensure that a fraudulent telemarketing operation that used the pretext of raising funds for charities is permanently suspended and that the money recovered is properly allocated. The measures taken will ensure that the shareholders of these companies do not take advantage of Pennsylvania residents again.
According to an article originally ran on thecentersquare.com, Shapiro´s office stated that since 2008, Associated Community Services (ACS) collected more than $110 million by assaulting more than 67 million Americans with 1.3 billion deceptive phone call.
These calls claimed to represent organizations allegedly supporting breast cancer patients, victims of house fires, children with autism, homeless veterans, and other charitable causes.
Shapiro´s office press released said that Pennsylvanians were hit with more than 61 million calls from Jan. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2019, with thousands of phone numbers called multiple times per week, day, and even hour.
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“The settlement will ensure that this scam gets hung up on permanently, that the recovered money gets properly allocated, and that the shareholders of these companies are never able to prey on Pennsylvanians again,” Shapiro said.
Victims of telemarketing charity scams include a significant number of older adults.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) celebrated the initiative. “AARP applauds the action taken by Attorney General Shapiro and federal officials to stop a huge telephone charity scam operation that has plagued Pennsylvania residents for years,” AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh said.
The Shapiro’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and 46 agencies from 37 states and the District of Columbia entered into the settlement with ACS and related defendants.
It is alleged that ACS kept up to 85% of the money raised and was aware that the organizations they fundraised for spent as little as 0.1% of the proceeds on charitable donations. Per the settlement, operations have been dissolved and ACS shareholders are banned from future telemarketing.