A veterans charity organization was recently barred from soliciting funds in Massachusetts following allegations that they misled potential donors on how funds would assist Massachusetts veterans.
Focus on Veterans, a Connecticut-based charity, allegedly used unauthorized and deceptive solicitation practices outside of Massachusetts businesses, according to a press release by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Following these allegations, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke issued a temporary restraining order against the charitable organization, according to the attorney general’s office. The hearing is set for Sept. 16.
The complaint, filed by the attorney general’s office, alleges that Focus on Veterans misled potential donors by falsely stating that their donations would be used to help Massachusetts veterans in ways such as providing housing and transportation assistance.
An investigation also found that Focus on Veterans failed to register and submit the annual financial filings to the attorney general’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division, as well as acquire the required certification to solicit in Massachusetts, according to the release.
“We allege that this charity violated the public’s trust and disadvantaged veterans by falsely claiming that donations would assist Massachusetts veterans,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in the release. “Donors should be able to trust that their dollars are going to the programs, communities, and people they intended them to.”
Members from Focus on Veterans allegedly solicited donations in front of Massachusetts businesses in several communities — including Shrewsbury, Hyde Park, Uxbridge, and Plainville — with banners saying “Support Our Massachusetts Veterans” and pamphlets advertising their services.
According to the complaint, residents of the organization’s “rooming houses” in Connecticut have illegally solicited for charity to support the homes.
One solicitor, Harvey Malbaurn, was arrested by Plainville police outside a storefront in July after failing to produce written proof that Focus on Veterans was a legitimate charitable organization that was authorized to collect donations in the state, according to the release.
Malbaurn was arraigned in Wrentham District Court on charges of larceny over $250 by false pretense and conspiracy, according to the release. He is due back in court Aug. 21 for a pretrial conference.Trisha Thadani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.