COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Five people involved in what Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost described as eight fake charities have now been ordered to pay a combined $190,000 in civil penalties.

Yost said the charities’ names were stolen from reputable organizations to lend credibility to their scam.

They are also to be banned henceforth from associating with any charitable organization in the future.

As recommended in a complaint from Yost, a Franklin County Common Pleas judge has also ordered that the articles of incorporation be canceled for the following groups, none of which was affiliated with the established charities of similar names:

  • American Cancer Society of Cincinnati Inc.
  • American Cancer Society of Cleveland Inc.
  • American Cancer Society of Ohio Inc.
  • American Cancer Foundation of Cincinnati Inc.
  • American Cancer Foundation of Cleveland Inc.
  • American Cancer Foundation of Ohio Inc.
  • American Cancer Foundation of Columbus Inc.
  • United Way of Ohio Inc.

“These scammers were pretending to be big-time charities to swindle money from Ohioans,” Yost said. “But playtime is over, and the jig is up on your sham operation.”

The five individuals named in the lawsuit are:

  • Ian R. Hosang
  • Jomar Holmes
  • Rhett McIntosh
  • Judith A. Culzac
  • Claudia Stephen

Hosang’s not just being prosecuted in Ohio, he is also having legal action taken against him in, Michigan, Washington, New York, and other states where he allegedly set up similar fake charities.

The Franklin County judgment bans all five defendants from incorporating, organizing or serving in any trustworthy capacity for any charitable organization.

“I’m extremely proud of the ongoing work our team does to protect Ohioans’ wallets,” Yost said.

Before donating to a charity it’s important to use online tools provided by the Attorney General, along with:

  • Checking whether a charity is in compliance with Ohio’s registration requirements.
  • Reviewing a charity’s annual reports to see how it spends your donations.
  • Seeing whether the charity employs professional fundraisers and finding out what percentage of donations actually goes to charity.
  • Reviewing tips for safe giving.

If you have any complaints about charitable organizations, you can file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website.