McDaniel: Nonprofit, telemarketers misled Arkansans donating to charity

Posted: July 11, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.

In a consumer-protection lawsuit filed Thursday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel accuses a New Jersey nonprofit and its Conway-based fundraising partner of misleading Arkansans into believing their donations would benefit state emergency responders.

Of $231,004 collected throughout the state by the National Police Defense Foundation of New Jersey, the lawsuit alleges that $500 went to "charitable purposes" while $171,193 was given to USA Publishing Group Inc. of Conway, according to a statement on McDaniel's website.

The lawsuit lists the National Police Defense Foundation, USA Publishing and USA Publishing owners William Parker and Kathleen Parker as defendants in the case.

McDaniel accuses the defendants of violating the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act by "intentionally making false, untrue or misleading statements to prospective donors," including allegations that the telemarketers would often claim to be emergency responders and that the charity was based in Arkansas.

“Arkansas consumers who believed they were donating their hard-earned dollars to help police, firefighters and emergency responders were instead duped into filling the coffers of a telemarketing company,” McDaniel said in the statement. “Consumers deserve to get that money back. Schemes like this have no place in Arkansas.”

Read more about this story in Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.