Oregon businesses and organizations got telemarketing calls from The Publishing Group claiming it was raising money for military veterans, first responders and drug abuse prevention programs. Oregon Attorney General John Kroger says the company actually provided no benefit to those groups.
The company tried to sell advertising in its publications, telling businesses that if they bought an ad, they would be helping veterans or supporting police and firefighter organizations. It turns out, Kroger says, the company has no publications but does operate a number of websites.
"Raising money by falsely claiming to help veterans is unconscionable," Kroger said.
The Publishing Group, Inc., based in North Carolina, agreed to pay $6,000 and faces significantly higher fines if it violates the agreement filed in Multnomah County, Ore., Circuit Court.
Calls and inquiries about the fundraiser triggered an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice's Charitable Activities Section. Kroger said the probe determined that The Publishing Group falsely claimed that advertising purchases would benefit local volunteer fire departments, a children's safety "stop drop and roll" program, drug abuse prevention programs, law enforcement, fire, and emergency services.
The company also sold online ads based on the false representation one of its websites is "an information exchange for professional law enforcement agencies" and "disseminates useful and educational information pertaining to all phases of police protection."
In fact, says Kroger, the company has no affiliation with any public safety groups or similar charitable organizations.