King County judge rules that Leavenworth family used deceptive scheme

    An unfortunate scheme that chips away at do-gooders, legit charities and wholesome intentions are the scammers that use their position as leverage to obtain some personal benefit. Some scams come in the form of email, a crafty sales pitch via phone call and a promise that the money being donated will end up in the right hands. And some family businesses come in the form of quaint bed and breakfasts, Mom & Pop shops or cafes that's menus consist of family recipes.
    However, a Leavenworth based family, four members of the Haueter clan, had been accused of using a scheme to pocket over $1 million for themselves under the guise of several different charities. On Friday, November 30, a King County Superior judge ruled that the family used their four charities as an deceptive scheme to solicit donations from Washingtonians, according to a press release from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.
    In December 2017, Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit with a claim that the quad set of charities was actually a scam to profit the Haueters' personal bank statement.
    “Instead of helping cancer patients and vulnerable children, this family took advantage of the generosity of Washingtonians,” said Ferguson in the press release. “That is wrong – and illegal.”
    Not only hinging on morally corrupt or "wrong" as Ferguson said in this press release - the scheme violated the Charitable Solicitation Act along with the state's Consumer Protection Act.  With the court in agreement with Ferguson, the results currently are dissolving the remaining charities, confirmation that the Haueters violated the law.
    At a later date, the court will decide on any penalties, costs or fees. The Attorney General’s Office will seek the maximum penalties of $2,000 per violation and costs, fees, restitution and other relief.
    Under assorted names the four charities have been fluidly changed, 23 official names and 19 entities, and used several needy groups, such as foster children, cancer patients and war widows, to tug at donors heart strings. The most recent titles for the scheme were Children Safety's Society, Children's Hunger Relief, Emergency Relief Network and Search and Rescue.
    With the notion that donations would be transferred to where the charities claimed it would end up, between 2011-2017 the Haueters managed to collect $3.6 million from donors and retained $1.4 million for themselves, according to the press release.

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