North Carolina Attorney General Recovers Money for Burn Victims

October 13, 2004

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced recently that more than $40,000 collected by telemarketers reportedly using a phony charitable pitch will go to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center.

“These telemarketers said they were collecting donations to help the Jaycee Burn Center treat children but not one cent of the money they raised actually did that,” said Cooper. “We’ve turned the tables on this scam so that these donations will be used as people intended.”

Cooper alleges that a telemarketer misrepresented its connection with the Jaycee Burn Center to solicit donations and then
failed to use the money it collected to pay for treatments for burn victims in violation of North Carolina law.

A total of $42,359.65 will go to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Cooper recovered the funds through a consent judgment entered against Manning Enterprises of Florida Inc., a for-profit telemarketer that makes calls on behalf of non-profits. Manning Enterprises is also permanently barred from the fund raising business in North Carolina.

The Jaycee Burn Center, the only one of its kind in the state, has treated thousands of patients with severe burns since it opened in 1981. About a quarter of all burn victims treated at the Center are children.

According to a complaint filed by Cooper, Manning Enterprises was hired by the North Carolina/South Carolina Police and Firefighters Olympics Association to raise funds through telemarketing calls.

Telemarketers working for the company made calls to North Carolinians from spring of 1999 through March 2003. As part of their pitch, the telemarketers reportedly claimed they were collecting funds to provide treatments such as skin grafts for children at the Jaycee Burn Center.

Cooper’s office discovered that the money went instead to the telemarketers and the Association.

“I’m proud of the generous people in North Carolina who are willing to give to those in need, but we need to be vigilant against people who try to take advantage of our compassion,” Cooper warned. “Scammers may even try to use the very real victims of this season’s hurricanes and floods to make their phony pleas sound more plausible.”

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