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December 2, 2010

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN MOVES TO SHUT DOWN CHICAGO-BASED GROUP POSING AS A CHARITY

Madigan Seeks to Bar Defendants from Ever Operating a Charity in Illinois

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a complaint for injunction seeking to shut down the Chicago-based We Stop the Killings organization for operating illegally and soliciting donations from the public. Madiganís injunction also seeks to permanently bar the six defendants from managing any charitable organization in Illinois.

The Attorney Generalís action, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that in June 2010 Yolanda King illegally reinstated a long-dissolved charity, Youth Action of the Midwest, naming herself, Warren Jackson, Armatha Kirkwood, Lisa Hendricks, Linda Jabo and Jeanne Taylor as its directors. King renamed the organization, and together the defendants solicited donations from the public, falsely claiming the funds would help prevent youth violence in the Chicago area.

Youth Action of the Midwest operated in the early 1980s but was dissolved by the Secretary of Stateís office in 1989. Madiganís office discovered the defendants had no involvement whatsoever with the dissolved Youth Action charity and is alleging that by reinstating the organization they violated the stateís General Not For Profit Corporation and Solicitation Acts. Madiganís filing also seeks an accounting of all funds raised by the defendants through We Stop the Killings.

ďAll too often we see defendants like these preying on unsuspecting people who donate hoping they are giving back and helping those in need,Ē Attorney General Madigan said. ďBefore donating your money, ask questions and take time to do research about the charity. Make sure you are satisfied your money is really going to a good cause.Ē

Madigan urged the public to take a close look at any charity that solicits donations. To learn whether a charity or fundraising organization has to be registered in Illinois or to report suspicious solicitations, contact the Attorney Generalís Charitable Trust Bureau, (312) 814-2595 or visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/charities/index.html.

To best ensure that your donation will be used for its intended purpose, the Attorney General offered the following tips:

  • Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fundraising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.

  • Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations in an effort to mislead you.

  • Ask questions about the charity. Donate only when your questions have been answered and you are certain your money will be used according to your wishes. Questions to ask include whether the charity is registered with the Illinois Attorney Generalís office and what percentage of donations to the charity go to fundraising, administration and charitable programming.

  • Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check Ė do not abbreviate.

  • Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with written information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

  • Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.

Assistant Bureau Chief Barry Goldberg handled this case for Madiganís Charitable Trust Bureau.

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