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Firm to pay $400,000 in settlement

A Duxbury-based fund-raising consulting firm for charities has agreed to pay a $400,000 settlement to 19 states to settle allegations that it made misleading statements in its direct-mail solicitations, the state attorney general announced.

Newport Creative Communications denies the allegations and admits no wrongdoing in the agreement.

Some of the solicitations that Newport developed for its client charities contain sweepstakes promotions.

The states alleged that those promotions were often illegal and misleading, guaranteeing prizes or stating that recipients had already won a prize. In most cases, no prizes were ever awarded despite such statements, the states alleged.

In addition to the $400,000, $26,000 of which will go to Massachusetts, the agreement calls for Newport to stop direct-mail solicitations that say the recipient has already won a prize or will be guaranteed a prize by responding.

The company must also explicitly state in its mailings that the consumer has not already won a prize and that donating to the charity does not improve chances of winning.

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