Court bars W. Islip man from NY charity fundraising
State Supreme Court Judge Emily Pines ruled Thursday in Suffolk County that Garrett Morgan, of West Islip, and his company, Campaign Center Inc. of Lindenhurst, knew they were calling people to make donations for a charity that did almost no charitable work.
The directors of the Coalition Against Breast Cancer agreed to pay $1.6 million in restitution, dissolve the charity and never again run a charity in the state in an agreement reached with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in March.
With the help of Morgan's firm, the charity raised $10 million -- ostensibly for mammograms, cancer research and education -- from 2005 to 2011. But only 4.4 percent went to charitable purposes, the attorney general's office said.
"Sham charities and professional fundraisers who line their pockets by tricking New Yorkers into thinking they are donating their hard-earned money to fund breast cancer research and other charitable causes have no business operating in our state," Schneiderman said in a statement. "We will take action to shut them down."
Campaign Center pocketed 80 percent of the $4.8 million it solicited through direct fundraising, according to Schneiderman's office.
The judge rejected an argument by Morgan's lawyers that the scripts read by telemarketers to solicit funds were not misleading.
"He knew they were false for a significant period of time," Pines wrote in her decision.
In ruling that Morgan and his company should be barred from charitable fundraising, Pines considered "the huge number of repetitive deceptive, false and misleading statements . . . disseminated by Campaign Center's employees."
The judge said Morgan also violated a consent order from a previous case not to engage in deceptive practices. The case before Pines was brought by the attorney general's office in 2011.
Morgan declined to comment in a text message Thursday night.
He and his company will be ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at an inquest on May 20.