Recorded solicitations on undercover line revealed misleading and false statements, according to Attorney General Tom Miller
(DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge today barred a Massachusetts professional fundraising company from seeking charitable solicitations from Iowa residents for a minimum of five years.
District Court Judge Michael D. Huppert ordered Integral Resources, Inc., a Massachusetts professional fundraiser, to pay $30,000 to the state, and pay an additional $70,000 if the company intends to resume charitable fundraising after the ban expires.
Miller said that his consumer fraud allegations against Integral were based primarily on three calls the Consumer Protection Division received on an undercover phone line, and another twelve recordings obtained from the company itself. According to Miller, all fifteen recordings, made on behalf of various established charitable organizations, contained misleading or outright false statements.
“The deceptions included how much of each donated dollar would go to the cause, whether the charity itself was calling, and whether the donor was being asked to make a one-time contribution, as opposed to being put in a rotation for repeat calls,” Miller said. “We won’t tolerate companies trying to take unfair advantage of Iowans’ generosity.”
The consent judgment applies to Integral as well as three individuals alleged to control the company’s operations, including president and CEO Ronald Rosenblith, vice president Page Gardner, and secretary/treasurer Michael Campbell. Each defendant denied any wrongdoing in the consent judgment.
In addition to the five year ban, the consent judgment prohibits the defendants from making any use of donor information involving Iowa residents.
“Iowans give generously to support worthy causes,” Miller added. “But we have to make sure that people and companies don’t exploit Iowans’ willingness to give to charities, even if they’re established charities supporting good causes. This case is part of that continuing effort.”
While Integral solicits on behalf of non-profit and political organizations, the order does not bar the company from political fundraising.
Miller urges charitable organizations to be vigilant when contracting with professional solicitors. “Charities should enter into fundraising agreements carefully, and make sure they understand the terms,” Miller said. “They should also know exactly how the fundraiser is soliciting and spending funds under their name.”