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Veterans charity's ex-leader guilty of stealing hundreds of thousands for personal expenses

    The former director of a veterans charity organization was convicted Thursday of stealing money from the nonprofit for personal expenses including jewelry, shopping, and business ventures, according to court documents. Patricia Driscoll, 40, a former girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, was found guilty of wire fraud, tax evasion, and first-degree fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. Driscoll was the former executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, a Washington-based charity formed in 2001 to promote quality-of-life for veterans and their families, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. She resigned from the charity in 2016 after allegations of misused funds. The charity disclosed a 2015 federal tax filing which reportedly indicated Driscoll had misspent $900,000...

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Bogus Veterans Charities Hit By New Federal/State Crackdown

Operation Donate With Honor is being unleashed by the Federal Trade Commission and state regulators to warn donors about scam charities claiming to aid disabled veterans and current service members and to crack down on the fraudsters. Shutterstock The Federal Trade Commission and regulators from every state in the nation announced a crackdown today on charities that pretend to aid veterans and service members. “Not only do fraudulent charities steal money from patriotic Americans, they also discourage contributors from donating to real Veterans’ charities,” said Peter O’Rourke, Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In announcing “Operation Donate With Honor, the FTC and agencies belonging to the National Association of State Charity Officials revealed they have taken more...

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CharityWatch Hall of Shame

In this feature you'll find the personalities behind the major charity scandals that inspire our work and illustrate the importance of a tough charity watchdog that is unafraid to challenge wrongdoing. The most important lesson to be learned from the following colorful stories of charity scoundrels is that regardless of how distinguished, well-connected and honored a charity leader is, he is only human and may be tempted to use the power and influence of his position to abuse the public's trust and thusly become the next member of the CharityWatch Hall of Shame. CharityWatch Hall of Shame Members:  Father Bruce Ritter (Covenant House); William Aramony (United Way of America); John Bennett, Jr.(Foundation for New Era Philanthropy); Lorraine Hale (Hale House); Roger Chapin (Help Hospitalized Veterans and Coalition to Salute America's...

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4 charged with using 'Wounded Warrior' name to raise over $150,000 for personal profit

New Albany, Indiana (CNN)Dan Cristiani of Clark County, Indiana, thought he was helping veterans. His late father had been awarded two Purple Hearts, so when Cristiani received a call from the "Wounded Warrior Fund" asking for a donation to help Indiana vets, he felt it was his duty to give. And give again. Over two years, the 69-year-old donated more than $1,000. But the money never made it to veterans, and instead is believed to have fueled the lifestyle of suspected crooks. The Wounded Warrior Project is a legitimate multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization with nationwide recognition that helps wounded, ill and injured veterans. The Wounded Warrior Fund, on the other hand, was a complete scam, federal prosecutors say. After a three-year...

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Dozens of fake charities scammed donations for veterans then pocketed the cash: FTC

Americans get a patriotic feeling when they donate to charities that help military veterans and current service members – a sentiment dozens of charities across the U.S. have exploited to scam millions of dollars in donations, a government watchdog agency says. A major offender, officials say, was Help the Vets, which had a nationwide operation, soliciting donations for its funding of veterans' medical care, including breast cancer treatment, a suicide prevention program, retreats for recuperating from stress and veterans fighting breast cancer. “But for thousands of disabled veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving an arm and a leg isn’t simply a figure of speech – it’s a harsh reality," read one of the Orlando, Florida-based organization's solicitation letters, written by...

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