ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Perhaps you’ve received one of its letters asking for charitable donations.
Eighty-six-year-old Adeline Daniels did and thought she was helping families of fallen peace officers.
“So I thought they need help and it’s the police, so I started sending them money,” Daniels said.
Over the course of several appeals, she sent $470 to Florida-based American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens. According to its annual report, AFPCC received $4,066,378 from public donations in 2017.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says 10,000 Minnesota donors have given the charity some $470,000 since 2011.
The organization’s prime target is senior citizens, like Dorothy Holden.
“I believed it was going to the families of fallen officers,” Holden said.
That’s a donor’s emotional draw to the charity, which has been around nearly 40 years.
Attorney General Swanson says the group’s appeal for donations is misleading and fraudulent because only a small fraction of the money goes to direct assistance to officers’ families.
“Only about 9 percent of the donation, so if you write a $100 check, only $9 goes to this particular purpose, helping the families of fallen officers,” Swanson said.
This is not the first time that AFPCC has been sued for fraud and misleading claims. After a 1995 civil suit filed by Minnesota, the charity signed a consent decree pledging not to engage in any deceptive fundraising.
These latest allegations only anger police leaders like Dave Metusalem, Executive Director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. He says he has attended his share of officer funerals.
“I’ve unfortunately been to several scenes where officers have been killed in the line of duty, participated in funeral planning and helped assist surviving family members afterwards,” Metusalem said. “I have never seen or heard of this organization in 30 years helping any families in Minnesota.”
AFPCC has not yet commented on the suit.
For more information about giving to charities, visit the AG’s website.