The Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement (CCERR) and Wounded Warriors Support Group (WWSG) are facing a civil lawsuit brought on by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The two charities claim to rescue abused horses and provide therapeutic horseback riding to wounded military veterans. But according to Becerra, none of that is true.
Becerra alleges that the two charities scammed the public out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. A press release from the attorney general’s office reads:
“CCERR and WWSG run raffles purportedly to support veterans and horses, but instead spend the donated proceeds for personal use.”
Matthew G. Gregory and his wife Danella Gregory run the two charities with the help of their two adult children, Matthew J. Gregory and Gina Gregory. According to court documents, the family used public donations to fund their own personal expenditures, which include a $10,000 shopping trip to the hunting store.
“Veterans and their families sacrifice immensely for our country,” Becerra stated. “There is no place for sham charities that claim to support our veterans when in reality they’re lining their own pockets. 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.”
But Matthew Gregory maintains that he and his family haven’t done anything wrong.
“We will prove ourselves to be innocent because they can’t prove that we are doing anything. Let them try and prove that we squandered donated dollars. It’s not there,” Gregory told news outlet KSBW.
But when asked by a KSBW reporter where the horses were being boarded, Gregory declined to give an answer.
Aside from misallocating funds, prosecutors also allege that the Gregory family plagiarized photos and quotes from the Washington Post and used them on their website. Court documents reveal that the two charities raised a total of $782,434 over the 2014-2015 year, but the prosecution claims that none of that money was ever put towards the intended cause.