A married couple who operate a Naples-based foundation honoring fallen police officers are facing charges related to soliciting donations without a license and not registering as a solicitor.
Rosemary Zore and Michael Aaron Randall were arrested Tuesday on multiple charges by the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement Criminal Investigation Section.
Zore was charged with failing to register with the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services as a charity organizer or sponsor and failure to apply contributions consistent with a solicitor, both third-degree felonies.
Randall was charged with failure to register as a professional solicitor, a third-degree felony.
They were released on $5,000 bond for each charge.
Zore and Randall, of Naples, have Collier County Court arraignments scheduled July 18.
Reached at the organization’s offices, Randall declined to comment other than saying the couple was meeting with their lawyers.
“The truth will come out,” he said.
Zore and Randall, CEO and vice president of the Fallen Officers/The Robert L. Zore Foundation, have appeared frequently at area rallies and political events in support of the families and departments of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty across the United States.
In February, they appeared in Bonita Springs at the second Annual Blue Bowl Flag Football Tournament, a charity fundraising event they sponsored. The organization’s website shows them with Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey.
In an April 20 article by the Florida Center for Governmental Accountability, Randall, via phone, said he and his wife had nothing to hide and were still figuring out how to run a non-profit agency. He said that the foundation applied for and received extensions to file its tax returns.
“Our 2019 tax return is done and our accountant is finalizing our 2020 return within the next two weeks,” Randall said in the article. “There were things we didn’t know we had to do when we started this. It’s not easy.”
Zore cites the death of her Miami-Dade police officer father, killed in the line of duty on Christmas Day 1983 when she was 7, for her involvement.
A Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services arrest report probable cause statement said that the criminal complaint against Zore, was received by the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services on June 6.
The complaint said the Fallen Officers/The Robert L. Zore Foundation was operating as a charity and had never filed an application for license/registration and did not have a valid current license/registration issued as required by the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services.
The complaint also said records showed that the organization had been receiving donations from multiple donors and businesses from 2019-2020. “This illustrates a violation of F.S.S.496.405(1)(a) Engaging in Solicitation of Contributions without a License” the probable cause statement said.
Records showed that the organization filed with the Florida Division of Corporations as a non-for-profit entity on Sept. 4, 2018. A line on the organization’s website says “Nationally recognized as a 501(c) (3) organization” and there is a tab for donations.
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The complaint also said a review of the couple’s bank records showed “multiple transactions from the nonprofit’s bank account to the personal bank account of Rosemary Zore from 2019 to 2020 totaling $34,938.15.”
The complaint listed charges “not consistent with the operation of a charity” including a child support payment, chiropractic office visits, massage visits and pool services. There was also a $1,500 payroll payment to Zore, the complaint listed, despite tax form statements that claimed she was not compensated or reimbursed by the charity.
A separate June 6 complaint against Randall, listing him as a Florida-based professional solicitor and president/manager of The Gold Lion Agency LLC, said that the agency was operating without a license and had failed to register with the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services.
The complaint said bank records showed that Gold Lion had raised funds for the Fallen Officers/The Robert L. Zore Foundation and kept a portion of the funds for itself, which is a violation of state law.