Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, September 13, 2000

ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COUNTY ATTORNEY SHUT DOWN BOGUS POLICE CHARITY

Defendant agrees to pay $150,000

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn in conjunction with the Harris County Attorney's Office, today announced that a Houston-based bogus police charity and its magazine have been permanently shut down and must pay a court-ordered judgment of $150,000.

"The money raised by these so-called charities only lines the pockets of scam artists. We will not tolerate it, and we will continue to seek out and punish those who give legitimate charities a black eye," said Attorney General Cornyn.

Bogus law enforcement charities solicit donations nationwide in the form of paid ads in so-called law enforcement magazines. Consumers are led to believe their donations will also go to help law enforcement and slain officers' families. In truth, the magazines are rarely, if ever published, and law enforcement never receives a dime.

Defendant Alvin Charles Gatson, who did business as JMAL Co. and The Police Journal, signed an agreed final judgment, which was approved by the court on Tuesday, that forbids him from engaging in any type of telephone solicitation, including asking for donations for any charity, unless the State approves.

Further, the judgment states that Gatson can never operate a non-profit organization that solicits for any charity, nor may he work for one in any capacity without the State's approval. The court also ordered Gatson to never again operate any kind of magazine or publication related to any law enforcement or firefighter agency.

The judgment includes approximately $80,000 in consumer restitution, $20,000 in fines and penalties and approximately $50,000 in attorney's fees. Assistant Attorney General John Owens and Assistant County Attorney Robbie Owen Clements handled the case.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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