A Denver-area fundraiser for cancer victims is heading for jail today for alleged charitable fraud.
BoobiesRock! founder Adam Cole Shryock faces two weeks in the Denver CountyJail for contempt of court after the Colorado attorney general's officealleged he and his companies committed charitable fraud, using models tosell merchandise to raise money for college scholarships.
Thatviolates a court order imposed last year stemming from alleged fraud inraising money nationally that was intended for cancer organizations. Ata hearing this month, a Denver judge found Shryock violated an injunction prohibiting him from selling merchandise, collecting money or promoting events on behalf of any organization representing itself as a charity.
The case drew fresh rounds of wrath on Twitter Friday from cancer victims and those duped by his charitable organizations.
Shryock, a Castle Rock resident, agreed to shutter Boobies Rock! last summer. However,in August, Shryock embarked on a new charity-based scheme thatdirectly violated the injunction, the attorney general's office said.
Usingthe name I Heart This Bar, Shryock hired promotional managers andmodels to sell merchandise at college football tailgate parties and barsacross the country, according to a 2013 complaint that charged Shryockwith violating state solicitation and consumer protection laws.
"Modelswalked around stadium parking lots telling customers they were sellingmerchandise to raise money for a college 'scholarship fund,' '' AttorneyGeneral John Suthers said. "In reality, the 'scholarship fund' wasnothing more than a cash bonus for the promotional managers, and theentire scheme ran afoul of the court's orders.''
Promotional managers were told they would get $7,500 bonuses if they outsold other managers.
Shryock's organizations sold T-shirts and bracelets. Models were toldto approach customers and say they were taking donations rather thanselling merchandise, according to the complaint filed by Suthers'office. The complaint alleged that models were told 40% to 90% of themoney was to go to charity. Minimal amounts actually went to charitablecauses.
A Wells Fargo bank accountcontrolled by a company started by Shryock took in nearly $1.1 million.Shryock allegedly took money from the account to pay restaurant billsand dating services and to purchase a BMW, according to the complaint.
Shryockentered the Denver County Jail today to begin his 14-day sentence, saysCarolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for the Colorado attorney general's office
Charitablefraud is "particularly pernicious," Tyler says, because "it involvestwo victims: the person who donates the money and who was scammed, andit means that a legitimate charity doesn't receive a legitimatedonation."
The advocacy group Breast Cancer Action coordinates along-running Think Before You Pink campaign, urging consumers to thinkcarefully about how their donations are used. Not all charities orfundraisers are equally deserving, says executive director KarunaJaggar.
"The popularity and success of breast cancer fundraising makes it an especially attractive area for possible fraud,"Jaggar says.
Thegroup suggests that consumers ask themselves these questions beforedonating: Does any money go to a charity-and if so how much? Is thatenough, or are you better off donating directly to the charities youthink are important? Which organizations will get the money and whatwill they do with the funds? Are these programs that you want tosupport? Does the product being sold contribute to the very problem itsays it is attempting to solve, such as through the use of toxicproducts?
Boobies Rock! is also under investigation in Indiana and Illinois.