JONES CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO GROUPS SCAMMING VETS

Feb 14, 2018 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is doubling down on calls to protect veterans and their supporters from fraudulent organizations and charity scams.  In a letter sent to leaders of two House committees today, Congressman Jones is asking for an investigation into multiple reports of charities claiming to assist veterans, but doing very little if anything to actually help veterans.  Instead, they appear to be abusing their tax-exempt status, misleading donors, and enriching only the leaders of the organizations and their fundraisers. 

Congressman Jones wrote, “The House has an obligation to stand up for America’s veterans, the donors who contribute to their cause, and the many upstanding charitable organizations who do outstanding work for them.  Investigating the bad actors and exploring improvements that could be made to weed them out is the least we can do.”

The full letter to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is attached.

Background - For years, Congressman Jones has sounded the alarm on suspicious charities that appear to be scamming veterans and those who support them. Some examples that have caused concern include:

• In 2016, CNN reported that the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation raised over $29 million over a four-year period, nearly all of which was spent on telemarketers and fundraisers, and less than 2% for veterans’ charitable causes.  The president of the foundation was convicted of wire fraud for his role in misleading the charity’s donors and misusing the charity’s money.  According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, the president used the charity’s funds to pay women to have sex with him in his Rolls Royce.
• In 2017 and 2018, an ongoing investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that telemarketers were raising millions for the Center for American Homeless Veterans, but keeping nine out every ten dollars raised.  Most of the remaining money was paid to the head of the organization.  “Veterans themselves received scraps.”   
• In 2016, the Associated Press reported that the executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation was indicted on federal charges related to defrauding donors and misappropriating more than $600,000 for her personal use.
• In 2012, CNN reported that the Disabled Veterans National Foundation had raised over $55 million since 2007, with almost none of the money being provided to American veterans.

Serving America’s veterans is one of Congressman Jones’ highest priorities.  Since 2003, Congressman Jones has cosponsored more bills to help veterans than any other member of Congress.

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at Allison.tucker@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-3415.
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