Stole valor is a victimless crime. (Sarcasm)
Via Courier Journal:
Four Indiana residents are accused of stealing more than $125,000 through an “elaborate fraud scheme” where they posed as fundraisers for veterans, collecting donations that they then used themselves.
Many donors were led to believe they were donating to the national veterans charity Wounded Warrior Project, but donations solicited by the defendants instead went to the Wounded Warrior Fund Inc. and the Wounded Warrior Foundation Inc. created by one of the people involved in the scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler, who announced the charges on Friday.
Some individuals made checks payable to the Wounded Warrior Project that were then deposited into checking accounts for Wounded Warrior Fund and Wounded Warrior Foundation, according to an indictment.
And at least two of the people involved used aliases when asking for donations, thereby hiding their identity and leading donors to believe they were being solicited by former military members, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
James D. Linville, 44, of Clarksville, went by Sgt. Bob Davis, while Thomas A. Johnson, 42, of Henryville, went by Paul Bradley.
Others involved include Amy L. Bennett, 40, of Henryville and Joanie Watson, 38, of Clarksville, according to the news release. Bennett and Watson are accused of picking up the checks and donations made by those solicited.
All four are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. All except Watson also face numerous counts of wire fraud. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years imprisonment, according to the prosecutor for the case, Kyle M. Sawa.
The charges are the result of a three-year investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Secret Service, according to Tim Horty, spokesman for Minkler’s office.
“Our American veterans have dutifully served this country through many wars and deserve better than to be deprived of donations from giving donors,” Minkler wrote in the release. “The acts of these fraudsters have eroded the trust and goodwill of those who want to contribute to legitimate fundraising organizations, including those that support our veterans.”