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September 18, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 496
SOLICITATION OF FUNDS
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F.S. 496.410
496.410 Registration and duties of professional solicitors.
(1) No person may act as a professional solicitor unless the person has first complied with the requirements of ss. 496.401-496.424 and has obtained approval of the department of a registration statement in accordance with subsection (5). A person may not act as a professional solicitor after the expiration, suspension, or cancellation of his or her registration.
(2) Applications for registration or renewal of registration must be submitted on a form prescribed by rule of the department, signed by an authorized official of the professional solicitor who shall certify that the report is true and correct, and must include the following information:
(a) The street address and telephone number of the principal place of business of the applicant and any Florida street addresses if the principal place of business is located outside this state.
(b) The form of the applicant’s business.
(c) The place and date when the applicant, if other than an individual, was legally established.
(d) The names and residence addresses of all principals of the applicant, including all officers, directors, and owners.
(e) A statement as to whether any of the owners, directors, officers, or employees of the applicant are related as parent, spouse, child, or sibling to any other directors, officers, owners, or employees of the applicant; to any officer, director, trustee, or employee of any charitable organization or sponsor under contract to the applicant; or to any supplier or vendor providing goods or services to any charitable organization or sponsor under contract to the applicant.
(f) A statement as to whether the applicant or any of its directors, officers, trustees, persons with a controlling interest in the applicant, or employees or agents involved in solicitation have, within the last 10 years, regardless of adjudication, been convicted of, or found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or have been incarcerated within the last 10 years as a result of having previously been convicted of, or found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, any felony and, if so, the name of such person, the nature of the offense, the date of the offense, the court having jurisdiction in the case, the date of conviction or other disposition, and the disposition of the offense.
(g) A statement as to whether the applicant or any of its directors, officers, trustees, persons with a controlling interest in the applicant, or employees or agents involved in solicitation have, regardless of adjudication, been convicted of, or found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or have been incarcerated within the last 10 years as a result of having previously been convicted of, or found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, a crime within the last 10 years involving fraud, theft, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, or misappropriation of property, or any crime arising from the conduct of a solicitation for a charitable organization or sponsor and, if so, the name of such person, the nature of the offense, the date of the offense, the court having jurisdiction in the case, the date of conviction or other disposition, and the disposition of the offense.
(h) A statement as to whether the applicant or any of its directors, officers, trustees, persons with a controlling interest in the applicant, or employees or agents involved in solicitation have been enjoined from violating any law relating to a charitable solicitation and, if so, the name of such person, the date of the injunction, and the court issuing the injunction.
(i) The names, dates of birth, and identifying numbers on or associated with valid government-issued identification cards of all persons in charge of or engaged in any solicitation activity, except those individuals required to obtain an individual license pursuant to s. 496.4101.
(j) A list of all telephone numbers the applicant will use to solicit contributions as well as the actual physical address associated with each telephone number and any fictitious names associated with such address.
(k) A copy of any script, outline, or presentation used by the applicant to solicit contributions or, if such solicitation aids are not used, written confirmation thereof.
(l) A copy of sales information or literature provided to a donor or potential donor by the applicant in connection with a solicitation.
(3) The application for registration must be accompanied by a fee of $300. The names and street addresses of all the officers, employees, and agents of the professional solicitor and all other persons with whom the professional solicitor has contracted to work under its direction, including solicitors, must be listed in the application or furnished to the department within 5 days after the date of employment or contractual arrangement. Each registration is valid for 1 year and may be renewed for an additional 1-year period upon application to the department and payment of the registration fee.
(4) A professional solicitor must, at the time of application or renewal of registration, file with and have approved by the department a bond, to which the professional solicitor is the principal obligor in the sum of $50,000, with one or more sureties authorized to do business in this state. The professional solicitor must maintain the bond in effect as long as the registration is in effect; however, the liability of the surety under the bond must not exceed an all-time aggregate liability of $50,000. The bond, which may be in the form of a rider to a larger blanket liability bond, must be payable to the state and to any person who may have a cause of action against the principal obligor of the bond for any liability arising out of a violation by the obligor of any provision of ss. 496.401-496.424, or any rule adopted pursuant thereto.
(5)(a) The department must examine each registration statement and supporting documents filed by a professional solicitor. If the department determines that the registration requirements are not satisfied, the department must notify the professional solicitor within 15 business days after its receipt of the registration statement; otherwise the registration statement is approved. Within 7 business days after receipt of a notification that the registration requirements are not satisfied, the applicant may request a hearing. The hearing must be held within 7 business days after receipt of the request, and any recommended order, if one is issued, must be rendered within 3 business days after the hearing. The final order must then be issued within 2 business days after the recommended order. If a recommended order is not issued, the final order must be issued within 5 business days after the hearing. The proceedings must be conducted in accordance with chapter 120, except that the time limits and provisions set forth in this paragraph prevail to the extent of any conflict.
(b) If a professional solicitor discloses information specified in paragraphs (2)(f)-(h) in the initial application for registration or the renewal application, the time limits set forth in paragraph (a) are waived, and the department shall process the initial application for registration or renewal application in accordance with the time limits set forth in chapter 120. The registration of a professional solicitor shall be automatically suspended for failure to disclose any information specified in paragraphs (2)(f)-(h) until such time as the required information is submitted to the department.
(6) No less than 15 days before commencing any solicitation campaign or event, the professional solicitor must file with the department a solicitation notice on a form prescribed by the department. The notice must be signed and sworn to by the contracting officer of the professional solicitor and must include:
(a) A description of the solicitation event or campaign.
(b) Each location and telephone number from which the solicitation is to be conducted.
(c) The legal name and residence address of each person responsible for directing and supervising the conduct of the campaign.
(d) A statement as to whether the professional solicitor will at any time have custody of contributions.
(e) The account number and location of each bank account where receipts from the campaign are to be deposited.
(f) A full and fair description of the charitable or sponsor program for which the solicitation campaign is being carried out as provided in the contract between the professional solicitor and the charitable organization or sponsor.
(g) The fundraising methods to be used.
(h) A copy of the contract identified in subsection (7).
(i) A statement of the guaranteed minimum percentage of the gross receipts from contributions which will be remitted to the charitable organization or sponsor, if any, or, if the solicitation involves the sale of goods, services, or tickets to a fundraising event, the percentage of the purchase price which will be remitted to the charitable organization or sponsor, if any.
(j) The percentage of a contribution which may be deducted as a charitable contribution under federal income tax laws.
(k) A statement as to whether an owner, director, officer, trustee, or employee of the professional solicitor is related as a parent, spouse, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, or father-in-law to:
1. Another officer, director, owner, trustee, or employee of the professional solicitor.
2. An officer, director, owner, trustee, or employee of a charitable organization or sponsor under contract with the professional solicitor.
3. A supplier or vendor providing goods or services to a charitable organization or sponsor under contract with the professional solicitor.
(l) The beginning and ending dates of the solicitation campaign.
(m) A copy of any script, outline, or presentation used by the professional solicitor to solicit contributions for the solicitation campaign or, if such solicitation aids are not used, written confirmation thereof.
(n) A copy of sales information or literature provided to a donor or potential donor by the professional solicitor in connection with the solicitation campaign.
(7) A professional solicitor may enter into a contract or agreement with a charitable organization or sponsor only if the charitable organization or sponsor has complied with all applicable provisions of this chapter. A contract or agreement between a professional solicitor and a charitable organization or sponsor for each solicitation campaign must be in writing, signed by two authorized officials of the charitable organization or sponsor, one of whom must be a member of the organization’s governing body and one of whom must be the authorized contracting officer for the professional solicitor, and contain all of the following provisions:
(a) A statement of the charitable or sponsor purpose and program for which the solicitation campaign is being conducted.
(b) A statement of the respective obligations of the professional solicitor and the charitable organization or sponsor.
(c) A statement of the guaranteed minimum percentage of the gross receipts from contributions which will be remitted to the charitable organization or sponsor, if any, or, if the solicitation involves the sale of goods, services, or tickets to a fundraising event, the percentage of the purchase price which will be remitted to the charitable organization or sponsor, if any. Any stated percentage shall exclude any amount which the charitable organization or sponsor is to pay as fundraising costs.
(d) A statement of the percentage of the gross revenue which the professional solicitor will be compensated. If the compensation of the professional solicitor is not contingent upon the number of contributions or the amount of revenue received, his or her compensation shall be expressed as a reasonable estimate of the percentage of the gross revenue, and the contract must clearly disclose the assumptions upon which the estimate is based. The stated assumptions must be based upon all of the relevant facts known to the professional solicitor regarding the solicitation to be conducted by the professional solicitor.
(e) The effective and termination dates of the contract.
(8) Within 45 days after a solicitation campaign has been completed and within 45 days after the anniversary of the commencement of a solicitation campaign lasting more than 1 year, the professional solicitor must provide to the charitable organization or sponsor and file with the department a financial report of the campaign, including the gross revenue received and an itemization of all expenses incurred. The report must be completed on a form prescribed by the department and signed by an authorized official of the professional solicitor who shall certify that the report is true and correct.
(9) Each contribution collected by or in the custody of the professional solicitor must be solely in the name of the charitable organization or sponsor on whose behalf the contribution was solicited. Not later than 2 days after receipt of each contribution, the professional solicitor must deposit the entire amount of the contribution in an account at a bank or other federally insured financial institution, which must be in the name of that charitable organization or sponsor. The charitable organization or sponsor must have sole control of all withdrawals from the account, and the professional solicitor shall not be given the authority to withdraw any deposited funds from the account.
(10) During each solicitation campaign, and for not less than 3 years after its completion, the professional solicitor shall maintain the following records:
(a) The date and amount of each contribution received and the name, address, and telephone number of each contributor.
(b) The name and residence street address of each employee, agent, and any other person, however designated, who is involved in the solicitation, the amount of compensation paid to each, and the dates on which the payments were made.
(c) A record of all contributions that at any time are in the custody of the professional solicitor.
(d) A record of all expenses incurred by the professional solicitor for the payment of which the professional solicitor is liable.
(e) A record of all expenses incurred by the professional solicitor for the payment of which the charitable organization or sponsor is liable.
(f) The location of each bank or financial institution in which the professional solicitor has deposited revenue from the solicitation campaign and the account number of each account in which the deposits were made.
(g) A copy of each pitch sheet or solicitation script used during the completed solicitation campaign.
(h) If a refund of a contribution has been requested, the name and address of each person requesting the refund, and, if a refund was made, its amount and the date it was made.
(11) If the professional solicitor sells tickets to any event and represents that the tickets will be donated for use by another person, the professional solicitor also shall maintain for the same period as specified in subsection (10) the following records:
(a) The name and address of each contributor who purchases or donates tickets and the number of tickets purchased or donated by the contributor.
(b) The name and address of each organization that receives the donated tickets for the use of others, and the number of tickets received by the organization.
(12) Any of the records described in this section must be made available to the department upon request and must be furnished within 10 days after the request.
(13) Unless otherwise provided in ss. 496.401-496.424, any material change in any information filed with the department pursuant to this section must be reported in writing to the department within 7 days after the change occurs.
(14) A person may not act as a professional solicitor, and a professional solicitor, or an officer, director, trustee, or employee thereof, may not, to solicit for compensation, knowingly employ an officer, trustee, director, or employee, or a person with a controlling interest therein, who has, in any state, regardless of adjudication, been convicted of, been found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or has been incarcerated within the last 10 years as a result of having previously been convicted of, been found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony within the last 10 years involving fraud, theft, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, or misappropriation of property, or a crime arising from the conduct of a solicitation for a charitable organization or sponsor, or has been enjoined in any state from violating a law relating to a charitable solicitation. The prohibitions in this subsection also apply to a misdemeanor in another state which constitutes a disqualifying felony in this state.
(15) The department may deny or revoke the registration of a professional solicitor if the professional solicitor, or any of its officers, directors, trustees, or agents, has had the right to solicit contributions revoked in any state or has been ordered by a court or governmental agency to cease soliciting contributions within any state.
(16) All registration fees must be paid to the department and deposited into the General Inspection Trust Fund.
History.ss. 9, 26, ch. 91-208; ss. 6, 19, ch. 94-287; s. 7, ch. 95-372; s. 562, ch. 97-103; s. 4, ch. 99-307; s. 3, ch. 2001-351; s. 11, ch. 2013-251; s. 12, ch. 2014-122.