Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that Texas, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 38 states, and the District of Columbia, stopped a massive telefunding operation by Associated Community Services (ACS) and a number of related defendants that bombarded over 67 million Americans with 1.3 billion deceptive calls falsely purporting to raise money for charity. Using deceptive solicitations, the fraudsters were able to collect more than $110 million. The defendants are now prohibited from conducting fundraising activities, consulting on behalf of any charitable or nonprofit organization, and using robocalls for any form of telemarketing.
“My office will continue to stand up for good-hearted Texans who give donations to what they believe is a worthy cause. I will not stand by while fraudsters attempt to deceive the generous citizens of our state in order to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Today’s settlement is yet another warning to would-be fraudsters – do not mess with Texas.”
The lawsuit charged ACS and other defendants with fraudulently collecting money for charitable causes, knowingly violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and making harassing calls, which sometimes reached more than 1.3 million phone numbers more than ten times in a single week and 7.8 million numbers more than twice in one hour. ACS was also the major fundraiser for the fraudulent Cancer Fund charities that were shut down by the FTC and states, led by Texas, in 2015.