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AG Becerra Announces Lawsuit Against Charity That Operated a Misleading Solicitations Scheme

AG Becerra Announces Lawsuit Against Charity That Operated a Misleading Solicitations Scheme

I want to thank everyone for being with
us today stay out of the heat or at least make sure you’re drinking plenty
of fluids it’s gonna get warm I am pleased to be joined by Tanya Ibanez
tanya is the senior assistant AG here in the attorney general’s office who deals
with Charitable Trusts and it is her team that does the work of making sure
Californians can have confidence in those organizations that hold themselves
out to be charities here in our state last July I and many others Attorneys
General the federal government announced Operation donate with honor
a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent charities and deceptive fundraising done
in the name of our troops and our veterans our troops and their commitment
to our country should never be exploited in deceitful solicit solicitation
gimmicks but unfortunately they are because it is popular to make donations
to our troops most Americans want to be generous with those who have given
service in uniform to our country my office is committed to holding
unscrupulous charities accountable and making sure that donations to them are
not misspent or diverted preying on donors support from military service
members and for veterans through deceptive marketing hurts it hurts
donors because it erodes their trust and their desire to be generous it hurts
military members and their families they could really use the help that never
shows up and it hurts the many honest Charities in California that support our
troops and our veterans and other good causes because they depend on our
generosity but the bad apples who look for ruin it ruin it for all the good
guys as well so the bottom line is this our troops deserve respect and generous
Californians deserve transparency that’s why we went after the so-called charity
helped the vets a corrupt charity that misused millions
of dollars it had raised rather than make good on their promise to our vets
in June of 2018 we secured a settlement against them for 1.75 million dollars
which will now be distributed to legitimate veteran charities in November
of 2018 we obtained an eight point eight million dollar jury verdict against the
Sham charity wounded warriors Support Group and their operators Matthew G
Gregory dinella Gregory Matthew J Gregory and Gina Gregory the jury found
that the defendants in this case acted illegally a total of three thousand four
hundred and thirty times the Gregory’s use donations that were meant to help
wounded warriors and they use that money instead for their own personal gain and
we’ve gone after hundreds of other delinquent veteran related charities and
have ordered others that have mr. emmett misrepresented their funding as well
organizations like healing American heroes great sounding name great
sounding name we’ve told those kinds of organizations organizations like healing
American heroes to stop soliciting donations here in our state of
California our work did not stop there and that’s why we’re here today today we
are announcing a lawsuit against move America forward and its directors and
officers Salvatori russo melanie Morgan Howard collusion and Sean Callahan the
directors of move America forward mismanaged a charity and allowed the
charity to engage in misleading and deceptive solicitation practices
specifically our complaint alleges the following that move America forward use
photographs and images taken without permission from other charities such as
Operation Gratitude and adopt a platoon a platoon that move America forward
falsely claimed to have a partnership with the Walter Reed National Military
Medical Center and that on at least one occasion the
charity invaded the privacy of an injured veteran by using his name and
story without his permission to obtain donations the complaint also alleges
that Russo engaged in self-dealing transactions by skimming money from move
America forward to pay for management fees commissions and expense
reimbursements for his for-profit for-profit companies not nonprofit for
his for-profit companies we also alleged that Russo’s for-profit companies not
the not to charity but his for-profit companies one called the campaign store
another consulting company called Russo marsh and associates received more than
1.8 million dollars from 2008 to 2017 from the charity’s proceeds additionally
the complaint alleges that the charity’s assets were used to pay for office space
which was shared free of charge with Russo’s and callaghan’s for-profit
companies as well as the political groups move America forward freedom
political action committee and the tea party express the complaint also alleges
that move America forward was used to improperly endorse two political
candidates under the United States Treasury rules charities are prohibited
from endorsing political candidates our lawsuit seeks to remove Russo Morgan
collusion and Callahan from the board of this charity and from any other
management positions in move America forward it also seeks to ban to the
defendants from operating any other charities and from soliciting charitable
donations here in California our lawsuit seeks restitution for the charity and it
seeks penalties against those directors and the charity this lawsuit is not just
a message to move America forward it is a message to anyone who thinks they can
profit off of the bravery and sacrifice of our troops we will file actions
against charities that engage misleading solicitations and those that
divert charitable donations and I want to remind everyone to be alert when they
are making those donations July this month is military consumer protection
month and we have donation tips for those supporting our veterans you just
go to our website but I want to share a few of those with you today first if
you’re going to make a donation you want to support one of these charities get
the charity’s name scrutinize the charity’s website take a look at the
physical location of this charity ask the charity to provide information on
programs they offer to veterans here in California second ask how much any
donation will go to support the actual charitable program charities are legally
required to give you this type of information reviewed review the
charities filing with our registry at I’m going to give you the website for
the registry that gives you information on all charities that website is oag dot
see a govt slash charities that’s of course the office of the Attorney
General California government slash charity so oag dot see a govt slash
charities you may not want to donate to a charity that is listed in our registry
as being delinquent in its reporting requirements or worse yet if you find
that on our registry they are listed as being suspended you should be aware of
sound-alike names of some of these charities or those that go by DBAs doing
business as charities that are doing business under other names help the vets
Inc which I mentioned earlier was also using the names Americans American
disabled veterans foundation military families of America veterans emergency
blood bank vets fighting breast cancer and veterans
fighting breast cancer all the same organ
you should ask the charity if it is supporting any political action
committees you may want to to make sure that your donations are supporting
veterans and not engaging in political lobbying activities and if you see any
deceptive or abusive charitable organizations out there tell us please
let us know we have a complaint form online at the same website Oh a GC a
govt / charities please let us know as you can see we’ll take action and so
finally last piece of advice be cautious be smart but please be generous give
there are legitimate charities out there that are helping our veterans our
friends our neighbors and they deserve our support don’t let the bad apples
ruin it for all the good guys that are trying to do the right thing but we will
go after those that try to do it the wrong way and we’ll try to hold them
accountable with your help with that let me say a few words in Spanish and then I
will take questions este es más de ayudar a prota hair a los
consumidor A’s que también los dan servicio militar y para proteger lows y
que se pancake on Samos todo lo que hacen para este país é para nuestro
pueblos yipeee or eso estamos an unseasoned o que estamos tomando accion
contra una hora organiz organized a she owned a carried ad ke d SE que este
ayudando a nuestros veteranos a nuestros tropas
drone verdad lo que esta haciendo es esta en Ricky Ricky Sandow a la gente
que trabajar para esta organization queremos que será el pueblo que cuando
uno quiere donar que este dinero say bazaar para esa causa Perez’s s’s por la
Sione’s que necesita su ayuda no caiva ayudará alguien estar más Rico por que
estan robe Andolan arrow que usted contribu
y por ESO estamos tomando accion Asteria contra una organ
organization kato mo sia provecho del Oh LaVon dad 10 nuestra comunidad de
Valle de niro millones de dólares de esta organization estamos diciendo que
es tiempo que se pan todos que no hay ninguna Organization que tiene el
derecho de abuse are de todo lo que queremos hacer para ayudar a nuestros
veteranos de nuestra stropas es para nosotros proteger
a todos que lucha an para nosotros en uniform a uri so Y estamos entrega no
una de Amanda contra move America for una hora organization te Cara dad que
decía que you dhaba a veteranos con todo dinero que unos contribu con troop
contributor parola rally dades que hace no era que estaba hablando say mucho de
este dinero millones de dólares y oi entrega Mo’s esta accion para empezar la
demanda para cooper are ESO dinero’s Adar SE los al fin a los a la stropas y
los veteranos Kaymer SN es au de

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