May 26, 2006
Camdenton, Mo. — A Henry County man who placed candy vending machines in several Lake-area businesses and falsely claimed the proceeds would benefit the children of servicemen and women killed in Iraq is being sued by Attorney General Jay Nixon. The lawsuit against Darrel M. Sanders of Urich seeks a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, restitution and civil penalties.
Nixon's lawsuit, filed today in Camden County Circuit Court, alleges that Sanders approached at least 11 business owners in Camden, Morgan and Miller counties and asked permission to place candy vending machines in their businesses. The defendant told the businesses that he was an employee of the Armed Forces Children's Education Fund (AFCEF) and that all or a majority of the proceeds from the sale of the candy would go to AFCEF.
AFCEF is a legitimate charity based in Washington, D.C. that raises money to benefit the children of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. Nixon says Sanders has no affiliation with the charity that he claimed to represent and is not registered with any legitimate charitable organization or as a professional fundraiser.
“It is highly offensive for someone to make a dishonest buck in the name of American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq,” Nixon said. “When Missourians donate to a charity, they need to be assured that their money goes to the intended recipient. Those who seek to profit by fraudulently invoking the cause of fallen American war veterans, or misusing the name of any other legitimate charity, will be held accountable.”
Investigators with the Attorney General's Office worked closely with Lake-area police departments in the case after being initially notified of the scam by the Laurie Police Department.
“We are appreciative that Attorney General Nixon took this case seriously and acted swiftly to bring these charges so quickly after we notified his office,” said Jesse Calvin, Chief of the Laurie Police Department.
Nixon is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prohibit Sanders from placing additional vending machines in establishments in the state of Missouri, attempting to raise money for charity through fraudulent means and attempting to raise money for charity without properly registering as a professional fundraiser with the Attorney General's Office.
The lawsuit also asks the court to grant the Attorney General's Office permission to seize any vending machines currently located at businesses or in the possession of the defendant and retain possession of them until further order of the court, and to order the defendant to pay appropriate restitution, penalties and costs associated with bringing the lawsuit.