The name “Cops for Kids” invokes trust, which is why several police agencies use it for their charity programs.

But others can apparently use it to.

On Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the state was pursuing a lawsuit against a Cops for Kids charity in Ashtabula County.

“This is a real scam, a scam that has defrauded Ohioans out of millions and millions of dollars,” he said.

Despite the name, the so-called charity had no affiliation with actual police agencies.

Charles Lane, Jr. is with the Cleveland Police Foundation and manages Cleveland’s Cops for Kids program and said the lawsuit caused a great deal of confusion.

“Many law enforcement agencies and organizations use the moniker 'Cops for Kids' as part of their charitable outreach, he said. “You get these unscrupulous people such as this case, that really puts a damper on things.”

According to DeWine, Cops for Kids in Ashtabula County took in more than $4 million, giving $3 million to Telecom, the company that solicited donations, and another $600,000 to the charity’s two founders.

He said that for every $100 they collected, only about 80 cents went to the advertised mission, which was to help the families of crimes.

Lane points out that Cops for Kids Cleveland does not solicit donations by phone and invites the public to do their research on them first.

He also released the following statement:

“It’s most disheartening to hear of people with no legitimate association with law enforcement agencies and their charitable efforts preying on the generosity of good citizens who wish to support their police.

Cleveland’s “Cops For Kids” is a legitimate program operated by the Cleveland Division of Police and is funded through its official charity, the Cleveland Police Foundation. The aforementioned entities have NO association with the Ohio Cops For Kids, currently in litigation with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The Cleveland Police Foundation and the Cleveland Cops For Kids Program do not raise funds through telephone solicitation.

For more information, visit www.clevelandpolicefoundation.org.

Inquiries about the Cleveland Police Foundation and it’s charitable efforts should be directed to Charles W. Lane, Jr., Executive Director, Cleveland Police Foundation, at info@clevelandpolicefoundation.org or by calling 216-623-3333.