Telemarketer Fines Fund Amber Program

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Pennsylvania will use $44,700 obtained from a telemarketing firm and a charity via legal action to help create an Amber Alert System to track kidnapped children, the state said yesterday.

According to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, the state collected the money in separate lawsuits in 1999 and 2000 from Good Cause Marketing, a telemarketing fund-raising agency, and United Children's Fund. Good Cause Marketing telemarketers working for UCF falsely told prospective donors that money collected would be used to support the Missing Children Help Center, National Child Safety Council and the United Way, in addition to misrepresenting themselves as agents of the various charities they supposedly were benefiting.

Good Cause Marketing and UCF paid $20,000 each, plus civil penalties and legal costs, to settle the complaint, the state attorney general's office said.

The Amber program is a nationally growing network of law enforcement warnings that are issued over local broadcast media when police believe a child has been kidnapped. The system figured prominently in several recent high-profile cases of child kidnapping.

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