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Fraudulent veterans charity shut down

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

November 13. 2017 9:51PM




CONCORD — A nonprofit organization based out of Illinois that raised millions of dollars by misrepresenting charitable programs to donors is being shut down as part of a 24-state settlement agreement that includes New Hampshire.

The settlement resolves allegations against the organization VietNow National Headquarters, Inc., also doing business under the name VeteransNow. An injunction order against the group’s directors and officers directs them to stop all operations and requires their cooperation in any future investigations of VietNow’s fundraisers, according to a release issued by the Attorney General’s Office.

A receiver will be appointed to dissolve the organization. VietNow’s remaining funds will be paid to two national veterans charities, Fisher House Foundation and Operation Homefront, once the organization is dissolved.

Since March 2015, VietNow — also known as VeteransNow — “had been raising money using deceptive telemarketing solicitation scripts,” according to Attorney General Gordon MacDonald. The scripts, used and read by professional fundraisers, told potential donors that VietNow gave a minimum of 12 percent after expenses back to veterans in the donor’s state. Other scripts stated that donations helped veterans locally in the donor’s state. VietNow now admitted that it did not have local programs in most states.

Other VietNow scripts claimed that it provided “medical facilities and treatment” to veterans, but again, VietNow has identified no such programs.

According to MacDonald, VietNow reported raising nearly $2 million nationwide in its most recent financial statement. Most of this cash was paid to fundraisers “with less than 5 percent of funds raised going to its charitable programs,” according to MacDonald.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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