Tennessee State Seal
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.

The investigation found 622 instances in which King or his associates had solicited money to support what they claimed were charitable purposes. However, the investigation found no evidence any of the money raised went to charitable causes – which resulted in civil penalties of $1,000 levied against King for each instance.

“This type of activity is particularly reprehensible because it takes advantage of the goodwill of other people,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.  "Tennesseans want to help their neighbors – and there are many worthy causes available to those people who want to help.  I would encourage people to make wise decisions about donating money to charities.  One way to be an educated donor is to check our website for information about charitable organizations registered to solicit contributions in our state.  I also would encourage people who believe charities may be engaging in misleading or fraudulent activities to contact our office.”

Information about registered charitable organizations is available at: http://www.state.tn.us/sos/charity

To report suspicious activities by a charitable organization, call (615) 741-2555.