Cox Announces "Missing Children" Donation Box Scammer to Get Jail Time

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

October 27,  2010

            LANSING - Attorney General Mike Cox today announced that Joseph Carr was sentenced to serve six months in the Ingham County Jail for his role in a donation box charity scam.  Carr was convicted of one count of false pretenses over $1,000, a felony, one count of soliciting charitable donations without a license, a six-month misdemeanor, and one count of acting as a professional fundraiser without filing a license application, a six-month misdemeanor. 

Carr's convictions were the result of Cox's charges against Carr for preying on mid-Michigan residents' generosity by placing charitable donation collection boxes in nearly 90 local businesses as a part of a "Missing Children" charity scam.  Judge Joyce Draganchuk sentenced Carr to serve 60 months on probation, perform 480 hours of community service, and pay $12,000 in restitution to the Michigan Amber Alert Foundation to help locate missing children.


"This sentence will serve as punishment to Joseph Carr, but it should also serve as a warning to other scammers who consider preying on the generosity of the public," said Cox.  "Every day, thousands of local charities across our state serve Michigan communities honorably.  We will continue to prosecute criminals who exploit the generosity of Michigan residents and undermine the public's faith in charities." 

Joseph Carr, 55, of Williamston placed collection boxes at 88 retail locations across Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Ledge, Holt, Okemos and Williamston.  From February through June, 2009, Carr collected between $1,500 and $2,000 a month from unsuspecting customers who were told their donations would be used to help find missing children through an organization called the "Beacon Project."  Instead, Carr allegedly used the money to pay his personal living expenses.

Michigan law requires most charities apply for and receive a solicitation license from the Attorney General's Office.  In addition, professional fundraisers, like Carr, who receive money for soliciting charitable donations must also obtain a license and maintain a $10,000 bond for the protection of charities and the public. 

For tips on wise charitable giving or to see if a charity is licensed to solicit in Michigan, please visit and click on "Charities," or call the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section at (517) 373-1152.