Today is the 14th anniversary of the founding of The Faith Foundation, an organization Danny Tarkanian helped to set up that turned out to be a telemarketing scam that ripped off senior citizens. On September 19, 1994, Danny Tarkanian incorporated the Faith Foundation in Nevada (its status was “permanently revoked” when it was discovered to be a scam). The Faith Foundation is one of at least thirteen fraudulent charities that Tarkanian helped to set up which ultimately defrauded hundreds of seniors out of millions of dollars. The telemarketing scam worked by telling seniors that they would receive large prizes in exchange for a small up-front fee. Many of the people who operated the companies that Danny helped set up were later convicted of fraud.
Danny currently operates the “Tarkanian Basketball Academy,” a non-profit that he has used to pay himself over $700,000. According to Danny’s website, he paid himself $144,000 in 2016 alone. Danny has been accused of funneling $40,000 from the children’s non-profit into one of his political campaigns. The FDIC has alleged that Danny’s salary practices at Tarkanian Basketball Academy are illegal.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Michael Soneff released the following statement:
“Danny Tarkanian personally profited when he created telemarketing scams that stole money from elderly Nevadans. Danny has never apologized for his role in helping to set up these companies—companies that took millions from unsuspecting seniors. While this is just one of the many scams and shady deals that Danny has had a part in, this is, without a doubt, the most egregious. Nevadans deserve better than a scam artist in congress.”
Background on Telemarketing Schemes that Tarkanian Helped Set Up:
- In 1997, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that these telemarketing schemes claimed 400 victims across the country who were tricked into sending a total $2 million in donations between April 1994 and January 1995. The salespeople told the donors that they would receive a cash award greater than the amount they donated. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/1/1997]
- “Scheme participants induced elderly consumers, who had previously lost money to fraudulent telemarketers, to make purportedly tax-deductible donations of $1,000 or more in order to receive valuable prizes.” [Federal Trade Commission Press Release, 12/6/1996]
- In a letter to Danny Tarkanian, a former US Attorney explained: “It is patently false for you to claim that you had no involvement at all in this illegal activity. A simple search of the Nevada Secretary of State’s website indicates that, over the eleven month period from February 1994 through January 1995, you incorporated at least thirteen fraudulent charities for your client. The officers of these entities constitute a who’s who list of individuals who were convicted of defrauding senior citizens in Nevada and around the country of millions of dollars […] The entities you created were illegal telemarketing schemes that were the subject matter of numerous criminal prosecutions.”
Background on Danny Tarkanian’s Scandals:
- Danny received a $16 million bailout from the FDIC for a failed “equestrian destination resort” in California.
- Danny helped to set up a series of telemarketing companies that scammed senior citizens.
- Danny borrowed $200,000 against his parents’ life insurance policy without their knowledge.
- Danny ran up a $161,000 operating deficit running a children’s basketball charity, while drawing $289,000 in salary.
- Danny funneled $40,000 from a children’s basketball charity into one of his political campaigns.
- Danny’s real estate businesses racked up significant penalties from the IRS, including $23,000 in back taxes, interest, penalties, and fees.
- Danny was implicated in an academic fraud scheme that resulted in penalties from the NCAA.
- Danny was sanctioned by the Nevada State Bar for failing to comply with a court order and for practicing law without an active license.
- Danny was fired from a telemarketing/long-distance phone company for allegedly forging a customer’s Social Security number and signature.
- Danny was a moderator for a racist Facebook group.