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July 1, 2008

Attorney General Sues "United Youth Careers" in Des Moines

UPDATE March 19, 2010:  Judge dissolves United Youth Careers, prohibits any door-to-door solicitations.  [Go to:  A.G. news release 3-19-10.]

Leaders of group that goes door-to-door for donations “exploited this non-profit corporation for their own private monetary gain,” Miller says.

Des Moines. United Youth Careers, Inc. -- a group that sends canvassers door-to-door for charitable donations purportedly to aid underprivileged youth in Des Moines – has “abandoned its charitable purpose” and should be dissolved, according to a consumer-fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Attorney General’s Office.

“Our suit alleges that officers and directors of the corporation have exploited this non-profit corporation for their own private monetary gain,” said Attorney General Tom Miller.

Defendants in the lawsuit are United Youth Careers, Inc., and four officers or directors: Kenneth N. McGregor, Sr., Marjorie Watson, Lillie Ward, and Antonio Ward.

The suit alleges that officers and directors repeatedly made illegal distributions or loans to themselves and family members from United Youth Careers accounts. The defendants “engaged in a pattern of behavior establishing that the true purpose of United Youth is not public benefit but rather self-enrichment,” the suit alleged. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. (Go to lawsuit petition filed July 1, 2008.)

Door-to-door solicitors for United Youth Careers tell potential contributors that donations are applied toward counseling services, job training, scholarships, and other youth education programs, and also that donations are tax-deductible. United Youth Careers has not obtained IRS status to make donations tax-deductible, the suit alleged.

The defendants “have defrauded hundreds of Iowans,” the suit said. The suit asks the Court to dissolve United Youth Careers, prohibit further violations, order civil penalties, and order distribution of any assets to legitimate charitable purposes.

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