FTC, states target fake veterans’ charities in the new approach: ‘It is war profiteering’

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said that as part of the FTC’s “Operation Donation with Honor,” he was the research of the Foundation for the American Veterans for misleading advertising and for “bad recordings” by the group treasurer.

(Google Archive)

Generous Americans give more than $2.5 billion per year, about 40,000 charities with missions designed to help the veterans.

The last time, however, this crowded area is flooded by fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC Surgery Donating with Honor in July to spotlight the problem of fraudulent and misleading fundraising on behalf of military and veterans’ causes.

“It is war profiteering,” Joshua Starks, the commander of the 300,000-strong Oklahoma Veterans of Foreign Wars told Fox News. “They steal from people who raised their hand and took an oath to serve our country and then went abroad for the protection of the rights of all of us–including the people who steal them.”

Help the Vets hit donors with blatant advertising exploitation of the misfortune of the veterans who lost a limb in battle.


As part of Operation Donating with Honor, the FTC distributed a list of 102 law enforcement 34 states have set up against fake veterans’ charities. Some are recent. Others have been recently submitted. The FTC is a partner in two of the new cases.


The list revealed the many ways these groups ask for donations—online, by phone, by e-mail, door-to-door and in shops and supermarkets.

The officials said that these legal actions share a common theme: the false promise to help poor and disabled vets, to veterans with employment counseling, mental health, counseling, or other assistance and care packages to deployed service members.

In many cases, the lion’s share of every dollar donated was spent on telemarketers in place of the veterans. In some cases these telemarketers are subject to a surcharge of 85 cents of every dollar.

A good goal that is mentioned is to Help the Vets.

Donors contributed $20 million to the Florida charity from 2013 to 2017. But the love brought some of the dollars that were collected to help veterans, the FTC said.


Help the Vets, ” Neil “Paul” Paulson Sr.

“Help, the Vet gave more than 95% of the millions who gathered to pay its founder, fundraisers, and on the expenditure side,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said.

Love deceived donors by blatant advertising, according to a lawsuit the FTC filed to coincide with the kick-off of the Operation to Donate with Honor.

“But for thousands of disabled veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, ‘giving an arm and a leg’ is not just a figure of speech – it is a hard reality,” says one of the Vets invitation. “Your $10 gift will mean so much to a disabled veteran.”

However, Help the Vets’ assistance to these unfortunate veterans consisted of vouchers for chiropractic treatment in a clinic, the FTC charged. Only five vouchers were ever redeemed.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced a 20-count indictment charging a Sacramento man with a love fraud. On hand were AARP Wayne Blackmon (left) and Oklahoma VFW Commander Joshua Starks.

(Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office)

The lawsuit also charges that the donors sent to Help the Vets $776,000 in support of veterans diagnosed with breast cancer. However, no single grant ever went to a veteran, to combat the disease, according to the FTC.


In coordination with the lawsuit is filed, Help the Vets settled the charges and agreed to a dissolution.

No criminal charges were ever filed against Help the Vets founder Neil “Paul” Paulson Sr., a one-time unsuccessful Orlando mayoral candidate.

The same can’t be said for the Oklahoma businessman Jeff McDougal, the founder of a small charity American Oklahoma Veterans from Green Country.

As part of Operation Donating with Honor, McDougal was charged in an 18-count indictment with defrauding people who believed that they were giving to a legitimate charity with a similar name called the Green Country Veterans Association.

Barbara Weaver of Owasso, Okla., told an investigator for the Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, she donated $325 Us Oklahoma Veterans from Green Country in October last year.

“The weaver is indicated that this agent that they are told that the American Oklahoma Veterans from Green Country contacted her and she assumed that it has the same organization as the Green Country Veterans Association, because they had given to them,” the researcher said, according to court papers.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Fallen Hero Bracelets and its director, Michael Friedman, alleging that they misled donors to believe their purchases will benefit veterans’ charities.

(Washington Attorney General’s Office)

Hunter said McDougal lit, at least 600 Oklahomans of around $35,000. Bank data shows that none of the funds McDougal asked were used to help the veterans.


Starks, who stood beside Hunter when the indictment was announced, told Fox News that everyone should be indignant that notorious veterans’ charities are stealing money from reputable ones.

“As a society, our responsibility is to take care of the vets when they come home from the war,” Starks said. “We made that promise to them and our promise to care for them is to be broken if we are not the people to the account the steal of the dollar, which should go to the veterans.”

Another Operation to Donate with Honor case in the State of Washington, where Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a lawsuit accusing a local charity called the Fallen Hero Bracelets of deceptive charitable solicitation.

Fallen Hero Bracelets sells bracelets engraved with the names of soldiers killed in action, along with t-shirts and other items. The charity said the proceeds would fund scholarships for children of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to give trained service dogs to soldiers who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ferguson said Fallen Hero Bracelets is claimed to have sold 1.2 million bracelets, but it has never paid for a scholarship or a trained dog to a veteran.

Mugshot for Jeffrey McDougal.

(Tulsa County Jail)

He also said that the charity’s founder Michael Friedman once sued a donor who has purchased a $40 t-shirt, and then canceled the transaction after a waiting period of more than 60 days for the item to arrive.

The FTC said Operation Donation with Eea also aims to help donors recognize the veterans charities may be unscrupulous.

“It can be kind of scary and overwhelming when you hear about the charities scamming people,” Maureen Elias, a former agent of the internal security forces of the U.S. Army, says in a new FTC educational video. “The promise of service to veterans who need it, and not that promise is objectionable.”

Foundation for American Veterans, Bob McDonald is with the flag (right)


In Michigan, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced an Operation to Donate with Honor action against a local charity with a connection to the President’s Trump card.

Schuette, he said, was the research of the Foundation for the Americans Veterans for misleading advertising and for “bad recordings” by the group’s treasurer, Bob McDonald. The withdrawals of a total of $200,000.

Foundation for American Veterans agreed to a termination in response to the investigation, Schuette said.

The love of the tax declarations show that in 2015, the group paid $6.9 million–or 85 percent-in fees to a professional fundraiser who raised $8.1 million in his account.

Foundation for American Veterans said its mission to help veterinarians included presenting grants to hospitals and small organizations. In 2016, of which grants total of $91,000, according to the tax declarations. The budget of that year was € 13.7 million.

In 2016, Trump sent to foundation for American Veterans a $75,000 donation after holding a telethon-style fundraiser for veterans for the Iowa caucasus. Trump organizes the event rather than attend a Fox News debate, he was boycotting.

McDonald’s lawyer told Fox News that his client has done nothing wrong.

In an e-mail, McDonald told Fox News the Trump contribution to the Foundation for American Veterans was donated to Fisher House, a registered national charity that builds homes for veterans in the vicinity of the Department of veterans affairs hospitals.

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