Funds from wrongdoers will go to fight fraud, improve health care in N.C.
Projects to protect North Carolina consumers, improve health care, and fight fraud against seniors, military personnel and veterans are now eligible for up to $4.5 million in grants, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced recently.
“When scams and shady businesses target North Carolinians, our goal is to stop the harm and try to win money back for consumers whenever possible,” Cooper said. “We’ve also won money from wrongdoers that can help worthy projects in North Carolina through these grants.”
Non-profits, educational and health care institutions, and public agencies can apply for grants in North Carolina at ncdoj.gov/consumergrants.aspx. Applications for the first round of grants are due by Feb. 17 with initial funds set to be awarded by May 15.
The grants are made possible by court cases and legal settlements won by Cooper and his Consumer Protection Division. Settlement funds have previously gone to educate consumers, support local food banks, help struggling homeowners, and give patients access to needed medicines.
Consumer protection court orders and settlements often include direct refunds to consumers and require defendants to give up their ill-gotten profits. In cases where funds cannot be returned directly to consumers, the court may order that the money go to programs that benefit consumers who were harmed by the unlawful acts or for general consumer protection purposes. Cooper has established the Consumer Protection Grants program to help award those funds to deserving projects.
The Attorney General’s office plans to award six cycles of grants through March 2015. Each cycle will be worth up to $750,000, for a total of as much as $4.5 million in grant funds awarded.
Applications will be accepted for projects in the following areas:
State law gives the Attorney General authority to protect North Carolina consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division helps resolve complaints between businesses and consumers, conducts consumer education programs, advocates legislative changes, and takes legal action when necessary to enforce the law against violators.
Consumers can call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina for help or file a complaint onlineat ncdoj.gov.
More information about the grant program is available at http://ncdoj.gov/consumergrants.aspx.