Police warn of poppy fraudsters
Danielle Bell, QMI Agency
First posted: Sunday, November 06, 2011 01:15 AM EST | Updated: Sunday, November 06, 2011 01:21 AM EST
Ontario Provincial Police are warning about fraudsters looking to cash in on Remembrance Day.
Police in Lanark County are investigating after receiving information there may be people selling promotional items that contain the poppy symbol, but are not representing the Royal Canadian Legion.
Legion officials are upset that anyone would misuse the poppy symbol under the guise of supporting war veterans.
“I guess some people are desperate,” said Ross Stephen, sergeant at arms of the legion’s Barrhaven branch. “(The poppy) shouldn’t be used other than for remembrance.
Hundreds of thousands of men gave up their lives for our freedom. And that’s what it’s all about.”
Barrhaven branch president Gus Estes suspects someone may have gone online to the legion’s site to copy the poppy image, a registered trademark.
“There’s always some people who try to benefit,” said Estes. “In most cases, our biggest problem has been theft of poppy money.”
When the legion distributes poppies, people are in uniform or clearly identified with volunteer badges, said Estes.
“We do not sell poppies. We don’t go door-to-door with poppies,” said Estes. “We distribute them.”
The legion accepts donations, but people do not have to give money to get a poppy, said Estes.
Estes has heard of several attempted poppy money thefts this year.
OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae said police recently received a report from a concerned citizen about someone not believed to be legion representative selling poppies.
“We want to make sure people are aware,” Rae said Saturday.
“We’ve launched an investigation into it.”
Thieves in Ottawa have made off with poppy boxes before, with culprits sneaking off with money from hotels and coffee shops.
Money collected through the poppy campaign goes to support war veterans and other initiatives such as bursaries and hospitals.
Anyone unsure of the legitimacy of a volunteer is encouraged to contact their local Royal Canadian Legion branch for confirmation.
— With files from Jon Willinghttp://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/06/po ... fraudsters