Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a civil lawsuit last month seeking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars from two California charities claiming to support veterans. The lawsuit alleges that the operators of Wounded Warriors Support Group (WWSG) and Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement (CCERR) run raffles purportedly to support veterans, but instead spend the donated proceeds for personal use, including shopping at Victoria's Secret, paying off personal credit card debt, and traveling, dining, traffic school, dressage equipment, and other personal expenses.
The lawsuit seeks general damages, civil penalties, involuntary dissolution of both charities, appointment of a receiver to oversee dissolution and distribution of recoverable assets, and an order preventing Matthew G. Gregory, his wife Danella J. Gregory, and their adult children Matthew J. Gregory and Gina D. Gregory — all of whom run WWSG and CCERR — from operating a charity in California.
“Veterans and their families sacrifice immensely for our country. There is no place for sham charities that claim to support our veterans when in reality they're lining their own pockets,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It's a breach of the public trust to deceive and exploit the goodwill of generous Americans. It's worse when you do so at the expense of our veterans. I will vigorously investigate and prosecute any charity falsely claiming to help our veterans.”
The Attorney General urges all donors to be cautious in purchasing raffle tickets or making donations to charities that use the term “veterans” in their name as this does not necessarily mean that veterans or their families will benefit from the donated funds.
The Attorney General publishes tips to protect donors from becoming victims of misleading solicitation in appeals for Veteran Charities. The publication DONATION TIPS FOR SUPPORTING VETERANS is available on the Attorney General's website www.oag.ca.gov/charities under Resources and Tools, Registry Publications.
Editor's note: Both charities listed in the suit appeared to have 501(c)3 tax exempt status.
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