OMBUDMSAN ALERT: Be Aware of Unapproved Political Contributions

ob1 ob2BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT

When this Ombudsman was a youngster (more than 75 years ago) I received a piggy bank from my parents and was told to save my pennies which would eventually grow into dollars.

Some PACS operating today, as well as for many past years, have also adopted this strategy for accumulating wealth, but with your pennies! Consumer complaints have arisen of PACs overbilling some contributors by up to $99!

An excellent example of this technique was reported by the “Observer” recently, commenting on the Wells Fargo Fraud Department which quoted a source who asked to remain anonymous for fear of job security: “The source claims that ‘We got up to a hundred calls a day from Hillary’s low-income supporters complaining about multiple unauthorized charges.'”

The source alleged that offending campaigns strategically don’t overcharge these donors $100 or more because the bank would then be obligated to investigate the fraud. Typically, the overcharges were reported in the range of $20, $40 , $80, up to $90. This scandalous action goes well beyond the campaign of Hillary Clinton or any single candidate. The good news if a charge is improperly debited the PAC is likely to refund upon receiving a complaint.

A Pearl River resident contacted Ombudsman Alert in mid-December for advice concerning the “overbilling” of an account he had set up in 2016 with a major PAC. This resident had agreed to allow the PAC to bill his bank account weekly up until November 8, 2016 when all such billing must cease! Unfortunately, the billing continued up through mid-December, developing an “overcharge” of $85 on his account.

Ombudsman Alert suggested that this aggrieved individual contact the PAC and demand the return of the $85 overcharge and further state that if this was not returned promptly, he would contact the New York State Attorney-General’s Office and file a complaint. Within five days the $85 was credited back to this individual’s account.

I would like to take this opportunity to warn all  contributors and potential contributors to any PACs, regardless of party affiliation, to check and make sure that unauthorized monies are not taken from their bank accounts. If this does occur, contact the PAC and follow the advice given by me to the Pearl River resident!

Please address all comments and questions regarding this matter to editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.

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