(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today awarded $70,182.00 in grants to veterans charities across Ohio. The grants were funded by proceeds recovered in the investigation of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a fraudulent charity scam which solicited donations intended to benefit veterans.
“As we take time this week to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces, I am pleased that we were able to recover donations originally intended to help veterans and direct them to charities helping them,” said Attorney General DeWine.
Statewide, eight grants were awarded to various veterans charities. Grants awarded include:
- $20,000 to the Fisher Houses at Wright-Patterson Medical Centers I & II in Dayton
- $10,000 to Honor Flight Northwest Ohio in Lucas County
- $9,100 to the Equestrian Therapy Program in Cridersville
- $7,500 to Friends of the 179th in Mansfield
- $6,000 to the Joseph House for Homeless Veterans in Cincinnati
- $6,000 to USO of Northern Ohio in Cleveland
- $6,000 to Veterans’ Outreach in Struthers
- $5,582 to Operation Buckeye in Columbus
In recovering these funds which were assets of the scam charity, the Court Order directed the funds be distributed to legitimate organizations that benefit veterans.
The U.S. Navy Veterans Association was the subject of an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General for fraudulent charitable solicitation. The organization’s treasurer, Blanca Contreras, was sentenced in August to five years in prison for theft, money laundering, tampering with records, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The leader of the organization, a man known by the alias Bobby Thompson, was indicted by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on October 13, 2010, but remains at large. If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of the man known as Bobby Thompson, they are encouraged to contact BCI at 800-282-3784.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840