Lady Gaga is being sued for $5 million on “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization” charges for the wristbands she was selling on her website to aid victims of the Japanese tsunami. Her “We Pray for Japan” bracelets were being sold for $5 plus $3.99 shipping and handling, but the lawsuit states the charges were “in excess of the amount required to ship the wristbands based on their weight.” They claim she was trying to profit from the sales by retaining “a portion of the proceeds from each transaction instead of donating all proceeds to the Japan Relief Efforts.” Fans were also charged .60 cents tax for each bracelet, which raised a red flag as charitable donations are tax exempt.
According to David Darby, a lawyer with Michigan-based 1-800-LAW-FIRM, which launched the lawsuit, if all proceeds were going to the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as Gaga’s website claimed, there would have been no need to charge tax. He says, “We praise Lady Gaga for her creativity and desire to help the victims of this terrible disaster, but we want to see all charities accurately represent how they handle the funds collected.” Firm partner Alyson Oliver says Gaga’s representatives admit that some of the money from the bracelets was retained, but they wouldn’t disclose how much. She says: “When you use your celebrity and your power as a musician to take money from people under false pretences, that’s just wrong.'” It’s alleged that Gaga she has violated consumer protection laws in every U.S. state, and to top it off , some fans are complaining that they haven’t received their wristbands yet, though it stated on the website that they would be shipped by March 25.