Let's say, this holiday season, you were looking to donate some money to a good cause: a charity that fought against inner-city violence. You might have happened on the website for an organization called We Stop the Killings.
You would have found a rousing message ("When will the Slaughter among young people stop?"), a fancy photo spread, a video of black schoolchildren imploring you to "Join the Movement."
You might have been moved to contribute. And if you had, state lawyers say, you would have found yourself the victim of a fraud.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office announced today that it filed an injunction to shut down the Chicago-based We Stop the Killings, as it was operating illegally and under false pretenses.
From a press release:
The Attorney General's action, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that in June 2010 Yolanda King illegally reinstated a long-dissolved charity, Youth Action of the Midwest, naming herself, Warren Jackson, Armatha Kirkwood, Lisa Hendricks, Linda Sabo and Jeanne Taylor as its directors. King renamed the organization, and together the defendants solicited donations from the public, falsely claiming the funds would help prevent youth violence in the Chicago area.
The Warren Jackson mentioned in the report is plastered all over the We Stop the Killings website, described as "a national motivational speaker" and a "bold leader in the struggle for racial justice and economic empowerment."
He's even pictured with a certain prominent politician:
But in fact, We Stop the Killings isn't the only scam that Jackson has been at the center of. A story in the Chicago Reporter in 2007 mentioned Jackson and Yolanda King as part of a company that promised mortgage help to the elderly, W2X Inc.
A court filing in June of this year reveals that the AG's office has taken action against W2X as well. In the charges, the state describes Jackson and King as "in the business of extracting money out of homeowners already in financial distress, leaving them in a much worse condition than prior to the purported 'help.'"
Aside from shutting down We Stop the Killings, Madigan's current injunction seeks to bar the defendants from ever operating a charity in the state of Illinois.
"All too often we see defendants like these preying on unsuspecting people who donate hoping they are giving back and helping those in need," she said.
With any luck, these particular defendants won't be preying on the unsuspecting much longer.