Newspaper report triggers investigation and fine for charity consultant

Telemarketing consultant Mark Gelvan was fined $50,000 for violating a ban on fundraising.
Telemarketing consultant Mark Gelvan was fined $50,000 for violating a ban on fundraising.
Published April 24 2014
Updated April 24 2014

New York regulators fined a telemarketing consultant for some of America's worst charities $50,000 on Wednesday after officials determined he had violated a lifetime ban on raising money there.

New York's attorney general began investigating Mark Gelvan of Montville, N.J., after the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed in June that Gelvan remained active in the fundraising industry despite his ban.

The Times/CIR report ranked America's 50 worst charities based on the money they spent hiring professional solicitors. Gelvan acted as a fundraising consultant with several of those charities.

In a press release, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Gelvan violated his ban when his company brokered fundraising agreements for two charities.

Schneiderman's office said Gelvan arranged for a telemarketer to call New Yorkers on behalf of Woman to Woman Breast Cancer Foundation in Florida and the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation in Virginia.

Gelvan received more than $37,000 in money raised for the two charities from New Yorkers, the state's investigation found. Gelvan did not return a call for comment.

In 2004, Gelvan agreed to a lifetime ban on raising funds for charity in New York while admitting no wrongdoing. Regulators had accused him of making false claims to donors, including saying donations to a police charity would be used to benefit families of slain troopers.

Gelvan remains barred from soliciting for charities or profiting from charity fundraising in New York.