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Group Hosting Charity Race Faces $10,000 Penalty Following Tennessee Department of State Investigation
(Published: September 2, 2010)

Challenge Nation, a Washington D.C.-based company, is facing $10,000 in civil penalties for soliciting contributions on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee without the group’s knowledge or consent.

Challenge Nation sponsors “urban adventure races” – which essentially are scavenger hunts - in cities across the country. Challenge Nation has a race scheduled in Nashville Sept. 12. In promotional material for the event, Challenge Nation stated that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee would receive a portion of the proceeds from the event.


Veterans Charity Faces $50,000 in Civil Penalties for False Claims
(Published: July 26, 2010)

The Veterans Support Organization (VSO) faces $50,000 in civil penalties following an investigation by the Department of State's Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming.

The investigation found that VSO violated the state’s charitable solicitations law 10 times while engaging in fundraising efforts for its Tennessee chapter, with each offense carrying a penalty of $5,000.


Fraudulent Fundraiser Faces $140,000 in Civil Penalties
(Published: May 13, 2010)

A Chattanooga man is facing $140,000 in civil penalties for asking area residents and businesses for donations that he falsely said would be used to help area veterans.

An investigation by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office found 28 instances in which Steven Brackett sought donations on behalf of an organization he called the American Veterans Relief Foundation. The investigation concluded that the organization did not provide food baskets or other support for veterans, as Brackett had promised donors.

The Secretary of State’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming assessed a civil penalty of $5,000 against Brackett for each of the 28 violations of the Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Act.


Fraudulent Charity Ordered to Pay More Than $600,000 in Civil Penalties
(Published: May 11, 2010)

The Secretary of State’s office has ordered a Millington man to pay $622,000 in civil penalties after an investigation found that he had misled donors to believe that contributions obtained from them would be used for charitable purposes when, in fact, they were not.

Todd Kelley, director of the office’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming, informed Kenny King of the penalties by letter Monday afternoon. King had been raising money under the names of the Tennessee Drug Education Association and the Shelby County Drug Education Agency.


Portland Man Faces Criminal and Civil Penalties for Running Bogus Charity
(Published: January 13, 2010)

A Portland man faces possible prison time and at least $40,000 in civil penalties after fraudulently representing himself as a Robertson County deputy sheriff who was raising money for a charitable publication to be produced by the sheriff’s office.

Branden L. Fitzgerald, 19, was arrested and notified of the civil penalties against him this week following cooperative efforts involving the state’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming and the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation found that Fitzgerald did business under the name Local Youth Prevention Services.


Ensure Your Charitable Contribution Goes to Charity
(Published: December 21, 2009)

(This column was originally published in the Johnson City Press Dec. 13, 2009.)

The three wise men are among the Christmas season’s best-known icons. However, when it comes to charitable contributions, some of us don’t always make wise decisions.

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally one of the busiest fundraising periods of the year for many charities. Some collect as much as half of their total contributions during the holidays. That isn’t too surprising since many of us, filled with the holiday spirit, give some of our money to worthy causes at this time of year.

The problem, though, is some charities are not quite as charitable as they lead people to believe. In some cases, only a small portion (or none) of the money they receive is actually spent on their charitable missions.

And so, just as people are trying to make the most of their purchases during these economic hard times, it is important to make sure the dollars you donate to charity are good investments as well.


News Archive
Online Filing System Down This Weekend for Maintenance
(Posted 12/10/2009)

The system will be down for maintenance Friday, December 11 at 12:00am through Sunday, December 13.

Secretary of State Urges Tennesseans to Exercise Caution When Giving for Tornado Relief
(Posted 4/13/2009)

Secretary of State Tre Hargett warns Tennesseans to be wary of fundraising scams involving relief efforts for tornado victims, and urges donors to exercise caution when giving to any type of relief effort. Read more...

Online Filing Now Available!
(Posted 4/13/2009)

Charitable organizations may now submit registration and renewal applications online.

List of Appproved Gaming Events for Fiscal Year Ending 6/30/2010
(Posted 4/8/2009)

Each annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) organization located in the state must be authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to the house of the general assembly.

View list of approved events.