Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
CONSUMER PROTECTION SETTLEMENT REACHED WITH DONORWORX, INC.
~ Professional fundraiser to pay penalty for alleged violations of charitable solicitations law ~
RICHMOND(November 30, 2016) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring's reorganized Consumer Protection Section has reached a settlement with Donorworx, Inc., a professional fundraiser, to resolve alleged violations of the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law (VSOC Law) which governs the solicitation of contributions by, or on behalf of, charitable organizations and includes certain registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements.
The Commonwealth's complaint, filed in the Circuit Court for Arlington County, alleged that Donorworx violated the VSOC Law by failing to submit required filings prior to conducting a face-to-face fundraising campaign on behalf of a charitable organization at the Pentagon Mall in Arlington County. The documents that were not timely filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Charitable and Regulatory programs included a solicitation contract between Donorworx and the charitable organization, written authorization from the charitable organization to solicit on its behalf, a registration statement, and a solicitation notice.
Under the Consent Judgment approved and entered by the court to resolve the matter, Donorworx is permanently enjoined from violating the VSOC Law, must pay a civil penalty of $2,500.00, and must pay attorneys' fees of $1,500.00.
"The Commonwealth's charitable solicitation laws help give donors confidence that their money will actually help the cause or organization they care about rather than ending up in someone's pockets," said Attorney General Herring. "Things like registration, formal contracts, and solicitation notices help weed out unscrupulous solicitors and make it easier for all of us to support the causes we care about. As you're considering charities to support this holiday season, make sure to do a little homework so you can donate with confidence. If you're a charitable organization, make sure you understand your responsibilities to the Commonwealth and your donors."
Donorworx cooperated with the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Attorney General's Office during the course of the investigation and has now registered as a professional solicitor.
Before giving to a charity, remember these tips:
- Give to charities you know and trust.
- Vet charities with friends or consumer advocates and find out how much of your donation will actually go to the charity's programs and services.
- Watch out for groups with names that sound vague or similar to other well-known, reputable charities.
- Don't give to someone pressuring you to make a quick donation or requiring that you give cash or wire money.
- Ask for detailed information about programs and services in writing.
- Check if the charity and its fundraiser are registered with the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by calling (804) 786-1343 or searching online: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/food-charitable-solicitation.shtml.
Attorney General Herring recently reorganized the OAG Consumer Protection Section to more efficiently and effectively enforce Virginia's consumer protection laws, provide exceptional customer service in resolving complaints and disputes, and provide robust consumer education to keep Virginians from being victimized by fraud, scams, or illegal or abusive business practices.
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