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Telemarketer agrees to stop charity fundraising

Deborah Cromarty-Hallahan, president of Suffolk Productions Inc., has

Deborah Cromarty-Hallahan, president of Suffolk Productions Inc., has temporarily agreed to stop raising money for police unions and other charities. (January 20, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo by James Carbone

A Copiague telemarketing firm accused by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of using deceptive tactics agreed Friday to temporarily stop raising money for police unions and other charities.

In exchange for ceasing operations, Suffolk Productions Inc. will be allowed to pay employees and creditors while legal proceedings against the company continue.

The agreement was reached in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead before testimony from an undercover witness was to begin. Suffolk Productions' assets were frozen by a court order after Cuomo sued the firm and three other telemarketing companies on Jan. 20.

Karen Svendsen of Amityville, an attorney for Suffolk Productions and its owner, Deborah Cromarty-Hallahan, said Friday's agreement will allow the firm to pay its bills and give back pay to 15 employees.

The company has denied allegations that solicitors pretended to be detectives, used fake names and showed phony documents to raise money for Crime Stoppers of Suffolk County, the New York Association of Chiefs of Police and other clients.

"We do not make any concessions," Svendsen said outside court. "This is simply an agreement to move things forward."

James Rogers, deputy attorney general for social justice, declined to comment outside court and referred questions to a spokesman, who did not return phone calls.

Attempts to reach Cromarty-Hallahan, 55, of Mattituck, were unsuccessful. Calls to her company were not answered.

The Visiting Nurse Association and the Suffolk County Detectives Association stopped working with the company earlier this month.

A Suffolk Productions employee testified this week that he did not disclose to donors that he was a professional fundraiser, but denied posing as a detective.

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