Attorney General Ellison wins $954,966 judgment and permanent ban against company Contributing 2 Combatants and its owner for bilking charitable donations intended for the military
State’s lawsuit alleged that Jacob Choinski used his for-profit company, Contributing 2 Combatants, to solicit donations from Minnesotans door to door while posing as a charity and kept the donations to line his own pockets.
September 9, 2021 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that his Office has obtained a judgment of $954,966 against a Minnesota company that calls itself Contributing 2 Combatants and Coast 2 Coast Marketing, and its owner, Jacob Choinski, for violating charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws by defrauding Minnesota donors. Formally named PNW C2C Marketing, LLC (“C2C”), the company went door to door in Minnesota neighborhoods and misrepresented that C2C was a nonprofit soliciting donations to send care packages to servicemembers overseas. Choinski then spent the funds collected for his personal use and did not spend a single dollar on care packages since C2C’s inception in July 2018. The default judgment obtained by the State also permanently bans C2C from doing business in Minnesota and Choinski from any involvement in Minnesota’s nonprofit sector.
“Choinski’s conduct in this case was reprehensible. He used C2C to take advantage of Minnesotans who wanted to help our military servicemembers who are actively defending our country,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Our servicemembers overseas are making sacrifices for us every day and we will not stand by and allow their sacrifices to be exploited. This judgment ensures that Choinski and C2C can never engage in this conduct again.”
C2C is a for-profit Minnesota limited liability company that advertised the cost of shipping a care package to service members overseas through door-to-door solicitation. While soliciting, however, C2C deceptively represented itself as a nonprofit by asking Minnesotans for donations and telling Minnesotans that their donations were tax deductible. C2C also claimed to partner with a charity to which it provided funds from its sales, but the State discovered that it never provided any funds to that nonprofit. Instead, Choinski diverted all the funds solicited for his personal use. The AGO’s judgment of $954,966 includes $70,966 in restitution for Minnesotans who were successfully solicited by C2C since its inception in 2018. The remaining $884,000 are civil penalties that must be paid to the State.
C2C solicited throughout the Twin Cities metro area, greater Minnesota, and other states. The lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County District Court and asserted that C2C and Choinski violated Minnesota’s Charitable Solicitation Act, the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Consumer Fraud Act.
The Attorney General’s Office offers publications on its website that provide practical tips for dealing with high pressure solicitors. These publications further provide information about how people can better do their homework before making a donation to a cause they wish to support. These publications can be found at: www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Publications.asp. If you suspect you have been the victim of a charitable scam or have information you would like to report to the Attorney General, you may submit an online complaint form on the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Complaint.asp. For additional information, you may also contact the Attorney General’s Office, as follows:
Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
(800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay)