July 19, 2018 08:15 PM
(ABC 6 News)-- A Florida charity that promised to help veterans is now banned in Minnesota. This happened after the organization solicited $370,000 in donations from Minnesotans. This money was supposed to go to disabled and wounded veterans, but according to the Attorney General’s office, that’s not exactly what happened.
A few years ago, the charity “Help the Vets” rang up Department Adjutant for the American Legion Randy Tesdahl to see how it could get involved in the State Convention.
“If you have things you’d like to make available to our attendees, send them to me and I’ll set them out on our table and people can take them,” Randy told the organization.
Randy says he gets offers like this all of the time. So he didn’t think anything of it, until a few years later when he got a call from the Minnesota Attorney General.
"They explained the situation and said there was an investigation being conducted," said Randy.
The Attorney General’s Office said the investigation found that “Help the Vets” couldn’t prove they helped a single veteran through its voucher programs.
The Attorney General’s Office added that the money donated to the organization was mostly benefiting the charity’s president and its for-profit telemarketers.
Randy says “Help the Vets” claimed they donated money to the legion when he says they only donated vouchers.
"That helps them to say hey we donated all this money to a veterans service organization when in truth they sent a bunch of vouchers. Whether they were utilized or not, whether they were picked up by members in attendance is unknown,” said Randy.
Thursday Attorney General Lori Swanson obtained a judgment permanently banning “Help the Vets from Minnesota”
Randy hopes this brings more awareness to fraudulent charities.
"People are being a little more cautious when people walk into the American Legion, the VFW and say we're here to help...okay, tell us about your organization. Some of these have to be vetted," said Randy.
Created: July 19, 2018 08:15 PM
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