West Bloomfield man arrested for running 2 fake veterans charities

AG Schuette: Neil Thrasher establishing fake charities, used money for personal gain

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LANSING, Mich. - Attorney General Bill Schuette and Jason Allen, Senior Deputy Director for the Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs today announced that a West Bloomfield man was establishing fake charities with impressive sounding names for his own personal gain.

Neil Thrasher, 37, of West Bloomfield created two fake charities: The Paralyzed American Veterans and Disabled Veterans of America.

The names used are strikingly similar to two longstanding national organizations that have assisted veterans for years: Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.

The realistic sounding names were allegedly used to scam patriotic citizens into donating money.

"Creating phony charities for personal gain violates state law and abuses the public trust," said Schuette. "Pocketing funds that were generously donated to aid disabled veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country is especially reprehensible."

According to the charges, from January 2009 through April 2012 Thrasher collected over $100,000 through telemarketing efforts from donors.

Schuette says Thrasher used the money to make purchases at athletic clubs, liquor stores, and restaurants. 

Thrasher is charged with numerous counts of embezzlement from a charitable organization as well as other charges.

In May 2012, Schuette halted operations of a third bogus charity started by Thrasher, the "Veterans of America (VOA) Foundation."

"Veterans and current service members are appreciative of donations given to support them.  However, it is important for individuals to do the research to ensure their contributions are going to good, legitimate causes," said Allen.

To avoid scams check out the organizations before you donate by visiting the Attorney General's website to see how much of a charity's money is actually used for charitable purposes.  

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