COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina's secretary of state filed a legal action to block the Carolina Youth Club of America from soliciting in the state.
The injunction comes after Secretary of State Mark Hammond said the charity "demonstrated blatant disregard for the law" through multiple violations of the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act. Hammond's office alleges the organization failed to file its 2016 annual financial report and is soliciting contributions while its registration is suspended.
"Without the filings required under the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, we have no way of knowing whether the children who are 'club members' are benefiting from this organization's charitable purpose, and neither does the donor," Hammon said in a release.
The Carolina Youth Club operates by hiring children as independent contractors to sell cookies and other items door-to-door, while employing the charitable appeal that the funds raised are used to provide recreational activities, electronics, and scholarships for the children, according to a release from Hammond's office.
The Secretary of State's petition for injunctive relief also alleges that the Carolina Youth Club failed to disclose on its most recent registration statement that it had received a citation and fine from the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation for violating child labor laws in its solicitation activities.
Hammond credited South Carolina residents for notifying his Office about concerns with the Carolina Youth Club and helping to build the case against the organization.
"We received several complaints about the Carolina Youth Club through our Online Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form that was launched late last year," Hammond said. "This enforcement action demonstrates that the people of South Carolina are committed to holding charities and professional fundraisers accountable and maintaining transparency in charitable giving."
Since the registration of Carolina Youth Club of America is currently suspended, anyone who receives a solicitation from this organization should notify the Secretary of State's Office immediately.
Concerned citizens may file a confidential complaint through the Online Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form that is available on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.sc.gov, or contact the Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI.
The organization's website shows locations in North Charleston and Charlotte.
The directors of Carolina Youth Club have operated similar organizations in other states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia, the release states.