(June 8) – A bill by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, and Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, to crack down on charitable fraud was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon. HB16-1129 strengthens enforcement against charitable fraud, which is the use of deception to personally profit from people who believe they are donating to charity.

“This bill strengthens our law to protect our well-meaning Coloradans from criminals who prey on them for their own monetary gain by pretending to collect money for charitable organizations,” said Rep. McCann. “It is important for the penalty to match the crime and be significant enough to serve as a deterrent.”

HB16-1129 is the result of recommendations from the Attorney General Consumer Protection division to strengthen the Charitable Solicitations Act. It increases penalties from a $2,000 fine per violation with a cap of $5,000 for a series of violations to penalties up to $10,000 per violation and a $3,000,000 cap for a series of violations. The money collected in fines will be distributed to charities with similar purposes. The bill places additional requirements on paid solicitors when registering with the Secretary of State’s office to ensure the solicitor will perform in good faith. The bill also makes it an offense to solicit on behalf of an organization that purports to have significant membership of a certain type, like firefighters, when the organization does not.

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