Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost agreed to a multistate settlement with a reported charity that claimed to raise funds for veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Founders of Healing Heroes Stacey and Allan Spiegel and their son Neal Spiegel reportedly claimed they were raising money to help wounded veterans receive medical treatment not offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead they used the money to pay salaries, professional fundraisers and online advertisers and buy t-shirts from another family member’s business, according to Yost.
“Ohioans always answer the call when our veterans need help and thought they were doing so here,” Yost said. “But this wasn’t a charity. It was disgraceful sham and we shut it down.”
Ohioans donated an estimated $525,544 between 2015-17 to the charity, according to an investigation by Yost’s Charitable Law Section.
Under the settlement, Healing Heroes Network, Inc. and Hero Giveaways, LLC must permanently end all charitable solicitations and the Spiegel family must pay $95,000 in monetary damages.
The money will go to a veterans’ charity with a mission that matches what Healing Heroes Network, Inc. was claiming to do, according to Yost.
Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, California, Virginia and Washington joined Ohio in the settlement.
Yost reminded those making charitable donations to always ask for the charity’s name and website, see how much of the money raised supports the cause and what types of programs the charity runs.
Donors should avoid paying with cash, gift cards or wire transfers because they are difficult to track and recover. Credit cards typically are more secure and traceable.