Phoenix, AZ (Friday, May 30, 2014) – Attorney General Tom Horne today announced the recent filing of a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against Rise & Shine Exceptional Services, LLC and Desiree and Timothy Truett. The consumer fraud lawsuit alleges that Rise & Shine Exceptional Services, operating as a private school in Maricopa, and its owner, Desiree Truett, defrauded parents and donors by falsely claiming that the school was a non-profit tuition-free school when it did, in fact, charge tuition ranging from $2,000 to over $26,000 per year and it was never a non-profit corporation.
The State alleges that defendants misrepresented the for-profit status of the school and the tuition it charged to parents interested in enrolling their children at Rise & Shine. Desiree Truett told the State’s undercover investigator that the school doesn’t “charge any tuition,” they “never charge parents anything,” and “I’ve never taken a penny from a parent. Everything we do is free.” Notwithstanding defendants’ representations of being tuition-free, Rise & Shine did actually charge tuition and defendants issued tuition receipts to parents. Many of those parents were recipients of the Arizona Department of Education’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and used the scholarships to pay Rise & Shine’s tuition.
“The use of deceptive acts or practices or misrepresentations in connection with the sale or advertisement of goods or services is unlawful under the Consumer Fraud Act,” Attorney General Horne stated. “Our Office will continue to take action against anyone who engages in such unlawful acts.”
Defendants also allegedly misrepresented the school’s tuition free status in connection with pleas for donations and other fundraising efforts. Rise & Shine frequently asked local businesses and community members for donations. By claiming that it was a non-profit school that never charges tuition, Rise & Shine was allegedly able to generate tremendous community goodwill and support and received numerous and frequent donations of goods, services, and money.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants from engaging in the unlawful acts and practices alleged, and asks for restitution to parents and donors, disgorgement of profits gained through illegal acts, and civil penalties, costs and attorneys’ fees. This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Susan Myers.
To file a consumer complaint online, visit https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer. If you have questions or would like to request a complaint form, contact the Consumer Information & Complaints Unit at 602-542-5763 (Phoenix) or 520-628-6504 (Tucson) or toll free outside metro Phoenix at 800-352-8431.