A charity claiming to help veterans that solicited South Carolina residents for donations has been shut down.
VietNow National Headquarters, based in Illinois, was ordered to cease operations and dissolve after the Michigan Attorney General looked into claims of deceptive solicitation violations for misrepresenting programs to donors. That investigation led to other state actions and a settlement that ordered the charity shut down.
“We’re glad we could take action with other states on this,” South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond said. “VietNow reported raising nearly $2 million nationwide, however, most of the cash was paid to fundraisers with only 4% of its expenditures going toward the charitable program.”
Among the deceptive statements VietNow told donors was donations would stay in South Carolina to help local veterans through local programs.
“If they donated to the charitable organization, those funds would stay locally in that state and in that community and go to help veterans in medical facilities and those facilities did not exist,” Hammond said.
Hammond said his office had been monitoring VietNow for a while and the charity made his annual Scrooges List twice.
“We had named VietNow on our Scrooge list in 2003 and also in 2015,” he said.
Every year, Hammond’s office releases the Scrooges and Angels List, which lists the charities that best allocate donations to charitable purpose. In September Hammond announced a series of injunctions against veterans charities that violated state law.
“We want to send a clear message out there that if you’re going to solicit and ask for chartable donations, that those donations should go to that charitable purpose and the charitable donors should not be misled,” Hammond said.
Hammond warned residents to research a charity before donating money, to make sure donations are going toward a charitable purpose. If you suspect a charity asking for donations is misleading people to file a complaint by clicking here.
The remaining VietNow funds will be distributed to two respected veterans charities, Fisher House Foundation and Operation Homefront.