Charitable Fairfax County residents, according to Fairfax police, bought at least $68,000 worth of tickets to see a country-western band, The Country Gentlemen, play a benefit Sept. 9 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

But police say while such a band exists, it is not scheduled to play Sept. 9 in the county.

Yesterday, police arrested and charged each of three men with two counts of failing to comply with the state's laws on charitable fund-raising.

Police said the men were promoting the concert as a benefit for the Fairfax police and fire departments.

Police said the three men hired Fairfax teen-agers, who were paid $5 an hour, to phone county residents asking them to make donations to an organization known as the Association of Police and Fire Charities, which is not registered with the state as a charity.

Residents were told that a donation of at least $15 would bring them two tickets to a Sept. 9 concert.

Police said that during three weeks in February when the calls were being made, residents mailed $68,000 to a post office box.

None of the money was given to the police or fire departments, they said, and no one received any tickets.

Complaints and inquiries from citizens sparked the investigation, said police, who added that none of the teen-agers will be charged.

Police said they notified the three men in February that they were under investigation, and the phone solicitation stopped shortly after that.

Arrested were Boyd Larson, 41, of 9704 Ashby Rd., Fairfax; Gary Kammerude Sr., 46, of 5900 Kingsford Rd., Springfield, and James S. Bell, 39, of 9704 Ashby Rd.

All three turned themselves in to police yesterday, and were released after being charged.