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39 Attorneys General, FTC Shut Down Alleged Charity Scammers Using Robocalls

  • A bipartisan group of 39 AGs, led by Michigan AG Dana Nessel, and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) reached a settlement with tele-fundraising company Associated Community Services and related entities and individuals (collectively, “ACS”) over allegations that ACS engaged in a fraudulent charitable solicitation scheme that used tens of millions of illegal robocalls to solicit donations from the public in violation of the FTC Act and state consumer protection, business regulation, charitable solicitation, and/or charitable trust laws.
  • The complaint alleged that ACS made over 1.3 billion calls to more than 67 million consumers, targeted certain phone numbers with more than ten phone calls in a week and more than twice in an hour, and called some phone numbers over 5,000 times. Through these tactics, ACS collected over $110 million for organizations that claimed to support charitable causes such as homeless veterans, breast cancer patients, and children with autism, but it kept over 90% of donations received. The complaint further alleged that, after ACS stopped operating in 2019, some of the individual defendants continued their deceptive fundraising and illegal robocalling practices under other companies names—Directele Inc. and The Dale Corporation.
  • Under the stipulated orders, ACS is subject to a monetary judgment of over $110 million, which is partially suspended for inability to pay, and is permanently barred from conducting or consulting on any fundraising activities, from using any existing donor lists, and from undertaking any telemarketing activities, among other things. Related entities Directele and The Dale Corporation will be dissolved, and their related defendants are similarly barred from future telemarketing, robocalling, or fundraising activities.