LANSING, MICH. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that he's issued cease and desist order against a charity that claimed to help wounded members of the military.
Schuette says the organization, Healing American Heroes, Inc., collects donations that it claimed will be used to pay for phone cards for the troops, however, authorities say the money is diverted to other organization.
The group is based out of Texas and has taken in more than 10,000 donations from Michigan, totaling more than $200,000.
Healing American Heroes came to Schuette's attention through an audit of its charitable solicitation registration and IRS Form 990. In 2015, the organization, under the name Help Our Wounded, raised $2.6 million by sending five million deception mailings nationwide. The mailings included between one and three phone cards and said things like:
- Stated the “urgent” need for phone cards for wounded service members deployed in the Middle East;
- Claimed that “EVERY one of the 50,000 soldiers STILL stationed in Afghanistan and the Middle East wants [a phone card] – and I believe they deserve them”;
- Told individuals that Healing American Heroes’ network of military individuals would distribute the cards;
- Asked donors to “sponsor one, two, or even three Emergency Phone Cards for as little as $10...”;
- Asked donors to return the mailed phone cards with their contribution to “sponsor” the cards.
According to Schuette's cease and desist order, the organization has 21 days to resolve the matter or face a civil action in court.
"This group systematically exploited thousands in Michigan and hundreds of thousands nationwide who wanted to help wounded service members," said Schuette. "Our troops deserve better; our citizens deserve better."
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