DENVER - The Colorado Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order against Boobies Rock! Inc. for reportedly deceiving consumers into thinking they were donating money to a charity.
9NEWS Reporter Will Ripley investigated the company in November 2012. Read the full investigation here:http://on9news.tv/RjNoCt.
Company owner Adam Cole Shryock and his other companies, "The Se7ven Group" and "Say No 2 Cancer," are being investigated by the AG's Office after it came to light they were not authorized to raise funds on behalf of charities.
"Shryock misled thousands of consumers in Colorado and across the country into believing they were supporting breast cancer-related charities," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said. "In reality, very little of the money collected went to legitimate cancer groups as Shryock tapped those funds to buy himself a BMW, subscribe to an online dating service, and pay his bar and cleaning service tabs."
The complaint alleges that defendants would hold promotions all over the country, mostly in bars, and hire promotional models to "take donations" on behalf of Boobies Rock, saying the company was raising money for breast cancer nonprofit groups. The models would sell T-shirts, beer koozies, bracelets and other items with pro-breast or anti-cancer images and/or slogans.
While the storyline evolved over time, at the core the models told bar owners and customers that a significant percentage of their "donations" would go to cancer-related charities - anywhere from 40 to 90 percent.
According to the complaint, none of the legitimate organizations on whose behalf defendants claimed to raise funds had authorized those fundraising efforts, and none of them ever received a charitable donation until they threatened to sue Shryock for fraud.
Emily and Melissa, who asked 9Wants to Know not to reveal their last names, made $25 an hour, paid in cash, to sell catchy clothing for "Boobies Rock!"
"We would go to different bars, restaurants, [including] Rockies opening day," Emily said.
"[We're] the kind of girl-next-door type," Melissa said. "[We'd go] downtown [on] Friday [and] Saturday nights."
Their sales pitch was simple.
"Would you guys like to help donate to a great cause?" Melissa said.
"[You're] doing something good, something right," Emily said. "Basically our opening line was 'we're with Boobies Rock! It's a breast cancer awareness organization. Would you guys like to make a donation to the cause?'"
Those "donations" added up quickly.
"About $5,000 a week, just [for] me," Emily said.
Emily and Melissa say, when they left the company in June, there were 15 other young women just like them, collecting cash from people all over Colorado.
"I think they thought pretty much what we thought, that they were donating money to a good cause," Melissa said.
While the words Breast Cancer Awareness are plastered all over the Boobies Rock! website, it is not a charity.
Melissa and Emily say they walked away from Boobies Rock when they realized the money they collected, wasn't going where they thought.
"This is just a guy who is capitalizing on a deadly disease. People need to know the truth," Emily said.
Shryock told 9NEWS in November 2012 he does not condone the actions of certain sales women, who make people think they're donating to a breast cancer charity.
"You are giving to a company that is an advocate of breast cancer awareness, but it is a for-profit business," Shryock said to 9NEWS. "When they're out there saying false information, it comes back on me. For the most part, it is not a problem. But it does happen from time to time."
Shryock told 9NEWS his company is looking at ways to be more transparent about where the money goes.
He says the goal is to build a fun brand based on breast cancer awareness that will continue to make money and continue to make donations.