The state Attorney General says a Mill Creek couple that claimed to run charities to help disabled kids was actually running a scam, and a lot of people believed their story. Donations were collected at local grocery stores and other retailers, but based on court documents, very little of the money went to any charity.
Investigators are still trying to figure out just how much money Michael and Amy Gannon took in for their charity, Kures 4 Kids, also known as Kurz 4 Kids and Cures 4 Kids, and formerly known as Knowledge 4 Kids.
If you shopped at the Walmart in Mount Vernon in June, you might have seen their operaton. Their solicitors were also seen at the QFC store in Issaquah last July, and an Albertson's store in Redmond back in August.
The 130-page complaint filed against the Gannons and their charity operations accuses the couple of setting up donation tables outside grocery stores and other high traffic areas, putting up donation banners, handing out brochures and convincing consumers to drop in their cash.
The lawsuit says the Gannon's operation claimed to support a dozen local charities, including the Washington Boys and Girls Club, the 2014 Special Olympics, and the YMCA, but the couple had no connection with any of them. Attorney General Bob Ferguson says it was all a scam.
"That's right," Ferguson explained, "because they say they are going to take your hard earned donation and give it to a good cause, and they just don't do that."
State investigators say it could take months to figure out how many tens of thousands of dollars were collected, but records taken from the couples operation so far, suggest the Gannons paid themselves more than 50 percent of the proceeds as salary. Investigators say people soliciting donations for the couple claimed to be volunteers, when in fact the Gannons werepaying them $10 an hour.
State attorneys say the couple violated state Consumer Protection laws as well as the Charitable Solicitations Act and failed to maintain financial records. Early indications are the children and families the Gannon's claimed to help- received less than 5 percent of the money taken in. Before starting Kures 4 Kids, the state says the Gannons helped run a similarly deceptive charity tied to autism awareness.
As of publication time, the Gannon's attorney had not returned our call to get the couple's response to the state allegations.