Ohio AG part of multistate settlement to shut down illegal robocall operation

March 4, 2021 – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, along with 38 other states, is shutting down an illegal robocall operation that used veterans, children and first responders to deceptively solicit $110 million in donations.

The money was collected through a massive robocall operation by Associated Community Services, also known as ACS.

ACS made 1.3 billion fundraising calls to 67 million consumers nationwide, according to an investigation by Yost’s Charitable Law Section, the Federal Trade Commission and the other states.

“Ohioans are generous people, especially when it comes to answering calls to support our children and veterans,” Yost said. “This was nothing but a get-rich scheme exploiting that generosity – so we shut it down.”

According to the complaint, the defendants knew that the organizations for which they were fundraising spent little or no money on the charitable causes they claimed to support.

“ACS and a number of related defendants have agreed to settle charges by the FTC and state agencies that they duped generous Americans into donating to charities that failed to provide the services they promised,” Yost said in a press release.

The defendants kept as much as 90 cents on every dollar they solicited from donors, Yost said.

ACS called more than 1.3 million phone numbers more than ten times in a single week and 7.8 million numbers more than twice in an hour. More than 500 phone numbers were even called 5,000 times or more.

Yost’s Charitable Law Section found that ACS made nearly 56 million calls into Ohio from January 2016 to August 2020.

Stopping illegal robocalls has been one of Yost’s top priorities since he took office. Ohioans can combat illegal robocalls by texting “ROBO” to 888111.

By Sarah Wynn, Fox 28 Columbus
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