Kimberly A.C. Wilson
The Oregon Department of Justice has sued the founder of two charities and his organizations for allegedly illegally diverting money raised on behalf of veterans.
Attorney General John Kroger today announced a lawsuit against Gregory Warnock, accused of personally stashing more than $690,000 raised by the Oregon War Veterans Association and the Military Family Support Foundation to help the state's veterans, and of improperly using the charitable donations to make unreported political contributions.
“Oregonians deserve absolute assurances that their generous charitable contributions are spent properly,” said Keith Dubanevich, Kroger's chief of staff and special counsel. “The Department of Justice is committed to cracking down on charities that misuse donations raised to benefit veterans, law enforcement and other worthy causes.”
The state's suit was filed Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court.
In it, Kroger alleges that Warnock falsely claimed that Military Family Support had been granted charitable status by the IRS and that donations to it were tax-deductible. The suit alleges the organization was little more than a corporate shell used to solicit donations that Warnock transferred to himself or entities under his control.
Meanwhile, Kroger's suit alleges Warnock allowed OWVA, a 501c(19) non-profit, to make unreported political contributions -- in violation of Oregon’s campaign finance laws, Internal Revenue Service regulations and OWVA’s status as a charitable, public-benefit corporation. Another alleged violation: leading donors to believe that they could could claim a charitable tax deduction for contributions intended to be used for political purposes.
OWVA pre-empted the lawsuit last week by filing a request for a federal investigation of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice for, according to Warnock's Twitter feed, "abuse of vets and fraud."
The complaint filed Tuesday is part of a larger Kroger campaign to stop charities that keep most of the money they raise and crack down on non-profits and fundraisers that fraudulently claim to help U.S. veterans.
The goal? To shut down OWVA, prevent Warnock from operating charities in the future, and force Warnock redirect improperly diverted funds to charitable organizations that provide assistance to veterans.
-- Kimberly A.C. Wilson
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