Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

mmerz@atg.state.il.us
May 17, 2006

MADIGAN OBTAINS ORDER BARRING UNREGISTERED FUNDRAISER FROM SOLICITING IN ILLINOIS

Chicago -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan last week obtained a preliminary injunction against a Chicago fundraiser, Vet-Pol Advertising, Inc. (Vet-Pol), barring it from soliciting contributions in Illinois. Madigan is currently seeking to enforce an existing Consent Decree, entered against Vet-Pol in June 2004, by which Vet-Pol admitted to violating and subsequently agreed to follow Illinois’ Solicitation for Charity Act (Solicitation Act).

The present action alleges that Vet-Pol, once again, has violated the terms of the Consent Decree and Solicitation Act by failing to re-register as a “Professional Fund Raiser” while using deceptive solicitations to raise money on behalf of a questionable out-of-state “charity” now known as the American Association of Police Officers (AAPO), a Texas organization with alleged ties to law enforcement.

Vet-Pol’s solicitors, many of whom are not registered to solicit in Illinois, repeatedly telephone potential donors and misrepresent that the call is from or for “veteran police,” and hide the fact that Vet-Pol keeps 90 percent of all money it collects “for charity.” AAPO, whose founding members, Phil LeConte and David Dierks, are under investigation in several states in addition to Illinois, devotes only a fraction of the remaining 10% toward any charitable purpose. In exchange for purchasing an AAPO “membership,” donors receive an “official blue and gold five point police star logo medallion,” which the solicitors misrepresent gives “members” a degree of recognition in the eyes of local law enforcement. In truth, the medallions, which Vet-Pol instructs donors to display on their vehicles, are not recognized by Illinois law enforcement personnel.

The preliminary injunction, entered May 10, 2006, bars Vet-Pol from conducting any solicitations in Illinois. Any Illinois resident who believes he or she has received a solicitation from Vet-Pol is therefore encouraged to contact Assistant Attorney General Paul Getzendanner at (312) 814-3000. Getzendanner, along with Assistant Attorney General Janet Doyle, are handling the case for Madigan’s Special Litigation Bureau with the help of Assistant Attorney General Barry Goldberg from Madigan’s Charitable Trusts Bureau.

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