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Paid Fundraiser Pays Penalties Over Late Financial Reports

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-2153

December 18, 2008 - A paid fundraising company that was late in filing legally-required financial reports on its campaigns in Vermont on behalf of public safety organizations will pay $15,000 for the lapse. The company is East Coast Marketing Group, Inc., based in Portland, Maine; two principal officers, Gaylon Boshears of Weston, Vermont, and Angelo Anastopoulos of North Waterboro, Maine, are also responsible for the payments. The financial reports are key to the transparency of paid fundraising in Vermont because they show the percentage of donated dollars that actually went to the charity—which, in the case of East Coast in recent years, can be as low as 20 percent.

East Coast was originally sued by Attorney General Sorrell in 2002 for failing to comply with Vermont Charitable Solicitations Law, including using language on the telephone that created the impression that East Coast’s telemarketers were themselves public safety officers. That case was settled for $100,000.

The latest settlement in the case concerns failure to file financial statements and provides for payment to the State of $15,000, as well as a $5,000 penalty in the event that any future financial report is not filed on time.

In this holiday season, the Attorney General Sorrell’s Office reminds Vermonters to “give generously, but wisely.” That means giving only to charities you know, and knowing how your money will be used before you make a donation.

For a copy of the settlement, see the Attorney General’s charities/paid fundraisers web page under “Recent Enforcement Actions.”

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.