2 charities could face fines for potential violations of state laws

2 charities could face fines for potential violations of state laws
Updated: Jul. 11, 2018 at 7:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Attorney General's office is proposing fines of more than $135,000 against two nonprofits for multiple alleged violations of the state's charitable solicitation laws.

The Law Enforcement Community Foundation, which raises money largely though telemarketing, has been hit with fines of more than $111,000 for failing to register as a nonprofit fundraiser and for failing to file financial reports. The AG's office said it also used deceptive sale pitches.

Another company, the Firefighters Emergency Fund, was fined more than $23,000. The president of that fund, Mary Jean Castillo, is also the executive director of the Law Enforcement Community Foundation.

Consumer advocates said the lack of transparency could lead to abuses.

"When charities don't register … it removes trust from the public's view and it also shows that this organization may not be operating in the way that it should," said Jason Kama, market place manager for Better Business Bureau of Hawaii.

Castillo's lawyer said the violations are mostly technical.

"There are no allegations of criminal nature whatsoever. These are strictly administrative matters that we are working out with the Attorney General's office and we expect this to be resolved in the near future," said attorney Myles Breiner.

This is not the first time Castillo has gotten into trouble with the Attorney General's office.

AG investigations in 2015 and 2008 forced Castillo to shut down another fundraising firm and pay more than $20,000 in fines. Those prior issues are likely the reason the most recent fines are so high.

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