Anti-Caffeine Group Community Service Scam
In a recent article by the Oneida Daily Dispatch, New York a New York City group admits to a community service scam. The group’s intention was to make serving community service as easy as taking an online quiz. An anti-caffeine activist pleaded guilty to the scheme this past thursday. According to the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. “a community service sentence is a public and personal responsibility.”
Marina Kushner and the group that she founded, The Caffeine Awareness Association, pleaded guilty to a false-filing felony. Due to her sentencing she will have to complete 300 hours of actual community service. Kushner was recently arrested in Florida after officials became suspicious after a local defendant filed a letter from Kushner’s group. They were also equally as suspicious at the website linked to the group about “fast community service.” Before Kushner created her scam group, she had written anti-caffeine e-books and her group’s website supported her messages. While the public is made aware by the Food and Drug Administration about the harmful effects of too much caffeine, Kushner took it to a whole other level. Soon after the trial, the groups website page was taken down “due to technical difficulties.”
As a part of the scam, the group offered community service letters certifying completion and would charge based on the number of hours needed for completion. All the customers had to do was take an online quiz, but were not obligated to pass it. The questions on the quiz were based on the anti-caffeine e-books that Kushner wrote and would sell on the website. Over the several years that the group was active, the group received over $200,000. As one could imagine, this “community service” raised suspicions in Portland and Washington state where the group was headquartered.
It wasn’t until a 2013 case where a judge stated that the anti-caffeine group community service was a “scam” and that it would not pass as legitimate community service. New York prosecutors are now on the lookout for group activity that is similar to the anti-caffeine group.