PORT RICHEY — A telemarketing company claiming it raises money for Pasco and Hernando rescue workers has closed, pending a state review.
Investigators from the state's Division of Consumer Services seized sales ledgers from the Bay Area Council office Tuesday after learning it was still operating after its registration as a charity solicitor had lapsed, a state spokesman said.
The group's vice president, Shawn Baptist, told investigators the lapse was accidental and volunteered to stop soliciting until the state processes its renewal, which was filed Thursday. That process could up to take 10 days.
Residents and union officials have slammed the group, known locally as the Pasco County Council of Firefighters & Paramedics, for keeping too much in overhead costs and misrepresenting itself in calls and fliers. If investigators conclude the company willfully refused to register, it could be fined up to $1,000.