Fraud Against Black Churches: California Sues

Attorney General Kamala Harris seeks $800,000 in computer-kiosk case.

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California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris (Getty Images)

Under the leadership of Kamala D. Harris (the first African-American woman and South Asian American woman to hold the office of California attorney general, and a The Root 100 honoree), the state of California has filed a lawsuit seeking $800,000 in restitution and civil penalties from a scam that defrauded 33 African-American churches.

Promoters provided computer kiosks to the churches, promising them that they would be free, advertisers would make the lease payments and the churches would be under no financial obligation, says the lawsuit. Instead, according to Harris, the scheme ended up creating massive debts for the churches.

The complaint charges the promoters with violations of the state's unfair-competition and false-advertising laws, and seeks restitution, civil penalties and an injunction to prevent any further illegal activities.

"This was a cruel and hypocritical scheme," says Harris. "The perpetrators preyed on institutions of faith."

Read a copy of the complaint here.

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