The state of Maryland has barred a fraudulent charity from soliciting for donations following a number of complaints and an investigation that found the charity was not operating within the law. The Southern Maryland Veterans Association claimed to be helping homeless veterans, but was not using the money they raised for those purposes, and in fact was not even registered with the Secretary of State.
Without being registered, the group could not legally solicit for donations and was misrepresenting itself as a charity. They were a familiar sight outside of grocery stores and other locations, and had been soliciting for long enough that there couldn’t be a reasonable argument for why they were not registered with the Secretary of State.
The organization was issued a cease and desist order earlier this year, but they requested several hearings to have that order overturned, all of which failed. The Secretary of State, which regulates charities in Maryland, upheld the cease and desist and has urged residents to report further solicitations by the group.
This case is yet another example of charities, registered or otherwise, which purport to support veterans defrauding donors. Although fraud in the non-profit sector is actually pretty rare, it does come up in the news when it happens, and in the case of veterans charities, the problem seems to be snowballing.
Why veterans charities? It’s a disgrace that we even need veterans charities, that former military personal should have to rely on the kindness of others to help them out instead of the government is beyond many people. And as such, veterans are seen by many as a party well worth supporting with their charitable money. Charity fraud tends to crop up following tragedies which generate a lot of donations (like hurricanes or mass shootings) but for the average scam artist, veterans seem to be quite the cash cow.