KANSAS CITY, Kansas – (May 20, 2022) – A Kansas City, Kansas, man and his bogus charity that falsely claimed to be raising funds to support law enforcement have been banned from doing business in the state and have agreed to turn over $10,000 they illegally raised to a legitimate Wyandotte County organization, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
William Storms III and his organization called Kansas City FOP #1 Fund are now banned from operating as a charity in Kansas. The organization was not associated with the actual Fraternal Order of Police or any other law enforcement organization. Storms agreed to turn over $10,000 he had raised to the Bonner Springs Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 65, a legitimately operating Kansas FOP. The defendants will also reimburse the attorney general’s office for the cost of the investigation. Wyandotte County District Judge William Mahoney approved the consent judgment May 12.
Investigators with Schmidt’s Consumer Protection Division determined that Storms operated an unregistered charity from November 15, 2020, until February 8, 2021, soliciting and collecting donations for supposed charitable purposes. Storms also used the Fraternal Order of Police name without authority, which misled or confused donors as to the intended recipient of the contributions. Most charities soliciting donations in Kansas are required to register with the attorney general under the Kansas Charitable Organization and Solicitation Act.
Schmidt urged Kansans to do their homework when donating to charities and offered the following tips to keep in mind when making charitable contributions:
- Ask for written information, including how much of the money raised is actually used for charitable purposes and how much will end up in the hands of the professional fundraiser.
- Be careful with telemarketers requesting contributions - oftentimes the telemarketer keeps a substantial portion of the donation.
- Do not be pressured into making a contribution or pledge.
- Do not feel obligated to send a donation to charities that send token gifts such as key chains, greeting cards, mailing labels, etc.
- Make certain the charitable organization actually serves the need it claims to serve.
- Ask for financial statements of the organization to determine who will benefit from the donations.
- Make a personal giving plan and support well established charities on your terms, not in response to marketing solicitations.
- Check out the charity at www.kscharitycheck.org to assess whether it is registered to solicit in Kansas and to see important aspects of its financial filings, including how much of any money you give will be spent on the charity’s overhead expenses rather than going to support the charitable purpose, such as disaster-relief efforts. However, note that some charities are exempt by law from registration.
More information on staying safe from scams is available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org. A copy of the consent judgment can be found at www.InYourCornerKansas.org/judgments.