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Attorney general's office dissolves 10 entities posing as charitable nonprofits

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Posted at 11:30 AM, Jul 01, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel – along with Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Director Orlene Hawks – obtained an order Thursday dissolving 10 fraudulent entities for failing to comply with state nonprofit and charity laws.

It included at least one from West Michigan: ACF of Grand Rapids.

The entities have names similar to those of legitimate nonprofits, such as the American Cancer Society, American Cancer Foundation, United Way and the American Red Cross, but don’t appear to serve any charitable or commercial purpose, according to a news release.

Last year, the Department of Attorney General identified Ian Richard Hosand, Claudia Stephen and Lincoln Palsey as involved with the fraudulent entities called American Cancer Foundation of Grand Rapids, ACF of Detroit, ACF of Lansing, ACF of Michigan, United Way of Detroit and United Way of Michigan.

LARA’s Corporations Division referred the ACS of Michigan and ACS of Detroit to the attorney general’s office back in January 2020 for potential dissolution proceedings after discovering the organizations weren’t part of the national entity.

During that review, the Department of Attorney General discovered the other fraudulent entities involved.

The attorney general’s office found no evidence that any donations were made to these organizations.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III sided last week with the state in an order that:

  • Holds that the defendants engaged in fraud
  • Permanently enjoins defendants from forming a Michigan Nonprofit Corportation or from seeking a Certificate of Authority to transact business in Michigan on behalf of a foreign nonprofit entity
  • Permanently enjoins defendants from serving as an officer, director or resident agent for a nonprofit corporation formed or transacting business in Michigan
  • Dissolves the 10 fraudulent entities identified in the complaint

“I’m pleased by this outcome, which goes to ensuring Michiganders looking to support important causes don’t have to worry about fraudulent entities that take advantage of generous individuals,” Nessel said. “We remain committed to protecting charitable interests in this great state and I encourage people to research charities through our website to determine legitimacy before donating.”

Nessle’s office offers a search engine online that allows people to search for registered charities, public safety organizations or professional fundraisers by name, EIN or attorney general file number. It also has a list of charities by purpose, geographical area or a combination of factors.

The fraudulent entities were all incorporated in Michigan in 2018 by Hosang, who was identified as the resident agent and incorporator.

Stephen and Palsey were identified as officers and directors for some of the entities.

None of them live in Michigan, however; all have New York addresses, according to the attorney general’s office.

The entities themselves also seemed to have fraudulent information connected to them and no legitimate charitable or commercial purpose.

None of them were registered with the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Division, which is required by law.

They also weren’t registered as charitable organizations with the state and had no physical office locations, no web presence and no phone numbers.

Finally, none of the board members live in Michigan.

LARA’s Corporations Division dissolved all 10 entities on June 25.