26 January – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Charli…

26 January – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced a settlement resolving allegations that two Broward County organizations targeted senior citizens in a charitable donations scheme. Global Mindlink Foundation and Select International Donors Corp. will pay up to $300,000
for consumer restitution. The agreement also requires the companies to

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division
determined that the two organizations were Florida non-profit corporations
owned and operated by Denise Battista of Coral Springs. Battista managed a
staff of telemarketers who allegedly solicited memberships and newsletter
subscriptions from elderly consumers nationwide. The consumers were told
that the proceeds from their purchases would be used for charitable and
humanitarian purposes. Consumers who agreed to purchase subscriptions or
memberships supposedly would be eligible to participate in monthly drawings
for cash prizes.

“Floridians shouldn?t have to worry about being scammed when they are
trying to do a charitable deed,” said Crist. “This settlement will
reinforce the message that we will protect our citizens, especially those
who may be preyed upon simply because they are older.”

Consumer complaints indicated that Global and Select debited money
from victims’ checking accounts without their prior consent or knowledge.
The charitable facade of these entities was allegedly created to take
advantage of the generous nature of their elderly victims, but the majority
of the solicited money going toward corporate salaries and administrative

The settlement prohibits the two companies and Battista from engaging
in any type of commercial telephone solicitations. It also blocks them from
seeking a telemarketing license in the future or from participating in
charitable fund-raising activities. The restitution will be made to
consumers who have filed complaints the Attorney General?s Office, as well
as Florida consumers identified in the companies? business records as
victims who paid money to the companies and consumers who file a complaint
with the Attorney General?s Office within 30 days of the date of the
agreement. Any remaining money will cover the State?s costs of
investigation and litigation.

Consumers who believe they have been victimized by either of these
companies may file a complaint with the Attorney General?s Economic Crimes
Division. Complaints should be sent to the following address:

Economic Crimes Division
Attn: Robert Julian
Office of the Attorney General
110 SE 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-5000

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