HOLDEN, Mass. – A Suffolk Superior Court judge has ordered a Massachusetts veterans charity and its professional fundraisers to stop alleged deceptive fundraising practices, Attorney General Martha Coakley said. Coakley filed suit against the organizations following an investigation prompted by Holden Selectman Anthony Renzoni.
The preliminary injunction, issued Thursday, was requested in the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's Office against Bay State Vietnam Veterans, Inc., of Somerset and its Rhode Island-based fundraiser, Dynamic Marketing Solutions, Inc. The lawsuit also names Dynamic’s president, John Chaves, of Warren, R.I., and its founder, Thomas Gity Jr., of Pompano Beach, Fla.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated the Massachusetts charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws during their phone solicitation campaign.
“We are pleased that the court granted our request for an injunction against fraudulent fundraising while this case is pending,” said Coakley. “We allege these organizations misled donors to believe that all of their donations were going to directly benefit veterans, when in fact 85 percent of their donations were going to the solicitor.”
Under the terms of the preliminary injunction, entered by Judge Paul Troy in Suffolk Superior Court, the defendants are restrained from engaging in deceptive practices while soliciting charitable donations in Massachusetts. There are also ordered not to destroy or alter records while the civil lawsuit is pending and must account for money raised from Massachusetts residents in 2011 and 2012 in the next 30 days.
The defendants must also exercise ongoing oversight to ensure that further violations do not occur and report all complaints by the Massachusetts public with respect to solicitation or marketing to the Attorney General’s Office within two weeks of receiving them.
If any of the defendants violates the preliminary injunction, they may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.