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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Attorney General Dave Yost Shuts Down Eight ‘Knock-off’ Sham Charities

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Five people involved in eight “charities” whose names were stolen from reputable organizations to lend credence to their scam have been ordered to pay a combined $190,000 in civil penalties and banned from associating with any charitable organization in the future, Attorney General Dave Yost announced today.

As recommended in a complaint filed by Yost, a Franklin County Common Pleas judge has also ordered that the articles of incorporation be canceled for the following groups, none of which was affiliated with the established charities of similar names:

American Cancer Society of Cincinnati Inc.

American Cancer Society of Cleveland Inc.

American Cancer Society of Ohio Inc.

American Cancer Foundation of Cincinnati Inc.

American Cancer Foundation of Cleveland Inc.

American Cancer Foundation of Ohio Inc.

American Cancer Foundation of Columbus Inc.

United Way of Ohio Inc.

“These scammers were pretending to be big-time charities to swindle money from Ohioans,” Yost said. “But playtime is over, and the jig is up on your sham operation.”

In overseeing the charitable sector, the Ohio Attorney General's Office works to protect charities and their beneficiaries and to ensure that donations are appropriately used for the missions of the organizations.

The five individuals named in the lawsuit are:

Ian R. Hosang

Jomar Holmes

Rhett McIntosh

Judith A. Culzac

Claudia Stephen

Legal action has also been taken against Hosang in Michigan, Washington, New York and other states where he set up dozens of similar fake charities.

The Franklin County judgment bans all five defendants from incorporating, organizing or serving in any fiduciary capacity for a charitable organization.

“I’m extremely proud of the ongoing work our team does to protect Ohioans’ wallets,” Yost said.

Before donating to a charity, Attorney General Yost encourages Ohioans to use the online tools provided by the Charitable Law Section of his office, including:

Checking whether a charity is in compliance with Ohio’s registration requirements.

Reviewing a charity’s annual reports to see how it spends your donations.

Seeing whether the charity employs professional fundraisers and finding out what percentage of donations actually goes to charity.

Reviewing tips for safe giving.

Also, complaints about charitable organizations – including misuse of charitable funds, fraudulent fundraising activities, violations of professional solicitation standards, bingo and charitable gaming issues, nonprofit theft and embezzlement, and breaches of fiduciary duty by nonprofit leaders – can be filed on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.


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