Charity agrees to dissolve following allegations of deceptive solicitations

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday announced a settlement with National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA), a Maryland-based charity that solicits nationwide. As part of the settlement the charity will cease operations and dissolve in response to the attorney general's allegations of deceptive solicitations. NEMA was claiming to raise funds for the National Heart Council, National Alzheimer's Council and the National Heart Disease Council, which were supposed to be fighting these diseases.

"For years, NEMA took donations from unsuspecting donors but failed to honor the trust those donors placed in them," Schuette said. "All charities that solicit in Michigan should take note: don't lie or misrepresent your activities to Michigan donors."

In addition to requiring NEMA's dissolution, the settlement prohibits NEMA President Kelly Herzog from serving as an officer, director, trustee, or other fiduciary of a charity. Civil penalties of $192,655 against NEMA and $127,950 against Herzog will be suspended if both enter bankruptcy as they intend to do.

The response revealed that NEMA had not made research or equipment grants in over 15 years. NEMA used the funds raised almost exclusively to continue funding NEMA's sweepstakes fundraising campaigns, which NEMA inaccurately reported as an "educational" charitable program.

Over the last two years, Schuette's Charitable Trust Section has ramped up its enforcement of Michigan's law prohibiting deceptive charitable solicitations.

Complaints regarding charitable solicitations may be filed through the attorney general's online complaint form (https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx), or by mailing the Charitable Trust Section at P.O. Box 30214, Lansing, MI 48909-7714, or by emailing the Charitable Trust Section (ct_email@mi.gov).

To assist individuals in making wise decisions regarding which charitable donations to support, Schuette established an online searchable database for charities.

The attorney general also publishes an annual professional fundraising charitable solicitation report, available at on the attorney general website, www.michigan.gov/ag. Through these resources, users have access to information to aid them in determining which charities are worth supporting-and which are not. The attorney general's Charitable Trust Section is also available at 517-373-1152 to answer inquiries about a charity.

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