A Hudson Valley veterans' charity is shutting its doors after allegedly illegally stealing thousands of dollars in raffle ticket donations without ever hosting a raffle.
Recently appointed Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced on Tuesday that her office has reached an agreement with the Wounded Warriors Foundation of Orange County, which must immediately dissolve and pay $4,200 in restitution to the consumers it defrauded.
According to Underwood, The Wounded Warriors Foundation of Orange County, Inc. – which is not affiliated with the national Wounded Warrior Project – sold raffle tickets at $50 per ticket to members of the public and claimed that the raffle’s grand prize was a new 2016 Ford Focus. The organization also claimed that all proceeds would go toward purchasing mobility and lift equipment for veterans who had suffered severe injuries while serving in the United States’ armed forces.
During the raffle, The Wounded Warriors Foundation of Orange County (WWFOC) raised $4,200 from its raffle ticket sales. However, after collecting the money for raffle tickets, WWFOC never actually conducted a raffle. An investigation was launched by Underwood’s office after receiving several complaints from consumers who purchased tickets for the raffle.
Underwood said that the investigation found that the organization and its founder, Sean McCarthy “revealed that – despite holding itself out as a charitable organization supporting wounded veterans and soliciting donations from the public – the organization was not a legitimate not-for-profit corporation. None of the proceeds of the raffle ticket sales went toward supporting wounded veterans.”
As part of the settlement, the organization must immediately dissolve or properly register as a not-for-profit corporation and pay the restitution. McCarthy must also pay $250 in civil penalties and a $5,000 bond.
“New Yorkers should be confident that their charitable donations are going to legitimate organizations that will use these funds to carry out the mission they advertise,” Underwood said in a statement. “Our office will hold accountable organizations that break the law and take advantage of the public’s generosity.”
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