Attorney General Cuomo Stops Rochester Man From Soliciting Donations For Fake Youth Charity

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (July 21, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has permanently stopped a Rochester man from doing business as a professional fundraiser and soliciting donations on behalf of a nonprofit, after it was discovered that the charity he claimed to run did not exist. 

Kevin L. Norton, of Romeyn St. in Rochester, solicited donations from area residents by claiming that he ran the Urban Youth Foundation (UYF), a nonprofit organization he claimed was established to help Rochester’s troubled inner city youth. Instead, Norton was actually collecting money for personal expenses such as purchasing Christmas gifts for his children and step children.

“Using the auspices of a running nonprofit to solicit donations that are used for anything other than the needs of the charity is deplorable,” said Attorney General Cuomo.  “This man’s actions damaged the reputations of legitimate, established charities by causing donors to now think twice before contributing to a worthy cause. This fraud victimized not only those who he collected money from, but those who would have rightfully benefited from the proceeds.”  

As a result of the settlement, Norton is banned from soliciting contributions on behalf of any charitable organization, acting as a professional fundraiser, or engaging in door-to-door business sales.  He must also pay restitution, penalties, and costs totaling $7,300, and pay additional restitution to any consumer that files a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by November 4, 2008.  Consumers who believe they may have donated money to the fake charity should contact the Rochester Regional Office at 585-327-3240

From November 2007 to January 2008, Norton operated UYF out of his residence and went door-to-door and conducted street corner charitable solicitations. However, UYF is not listed under the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law nor is it a tax-exempt charitable organization; making any claim by Norton that UYF is a charitable, nonprofit organization, completely false.

The Attorney General’s investigation also revealed Norton also filed paperwork with Monroe County and opened business checking accounts with two banks to make it appear that the nonprofit was legitimate. Norton promised consumers that all donations would go to Rochester inner-city youth programs. In the end, no donations were given to inner-city youth, but was instead used by Norton for personal expenses.

The Attorney General thanked the Gates Police Department for referring this matter to the office’s attention. The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez of the Rochester Regional Office with assistance by Senior Investigator Chris Holland and Mediator Sierra Bunton.