Jackson County Man Pleads Guilty to Charity Fraud
JEFFERSON CITY - An Independence man has pled guilty to five counts of Unlawful Merchandising Practices, a class D felony, for fraudulently soliciting charitable donations.
Divers will be sentenced to three years in prison on each of the five counts, to run concurrently.
Attorney General Chris Koster said Richard Divers ran a telemarketing operation that solicited donations for handicapped veterans, senior citizens, blind persons and a Lions Club. The Lions Club had ended its agreement with Divers, and the other charities did not exist.
When a victim agreed to donate after receiving a solicitation call, one of Divers' employees would pick up a check and give it to Divers, who then deposited it in a bank account for his personal use. No donations were made to any charitable causes.
Koster's office investigated this case as part of Operation Broken Charity, a nationwide sweep of fraudulent fundraisers.
Koster advises Missourians to be cautious when making charitable donations. Donors can obtain verifiable information about the charitable organization represented; use a credit card or check for donating so there is a record of the expense; and use Check-a-Charity on the Attorney General's website at www.ago.mo.gov to make sure the charity they are considering uses donations wisely.