State of Ohio settles with fake veterans charity


FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2001, file photo, U.S. Marines with full battle gear prepare to leave the U.S. military compound at Kandahar airport for a mission to an undisclosed location. The Marines departed in transport helicopters, their destination classified. Veterans of America’s longest war are torn as the U.S. signs a potentially historic peace accord with the Taliban in Afghanistan. For many, the U.S. is overdue in withdrawing its forces after more than 18 years of fighting. Others are wary of the Taliban, whose hard-line government the U.S.-led forces overthrew in 2001. (AP Photo/John Moore, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio is taking part in a multistate settlement with a fake charity that promised to help wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Attorney General Dave Yost, Ohioans donated more than $500,000 to Healing Heroes, which did business in Florida as Hero Giveaways, LLC.

The organization raised the funds between 2015 and 2017 with sweepstakes mailers and telephone solicitations promising to help provide medical treatment to war veterans.

Instead, authorities say Healing Heroes used donations to pay professional fundraisers, online advertising fees, and salaries.

“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 a disgraceful sham and we shut it down.”

Healing Heroes founders Stacey and Allan Spiegel and their son Neal Spiegel agreed to settle with 11 states where they solicited donations.

Under the settlement, the Spiegels must permanently stop soliciting charitable funds, and will pay $95,000 in damages.

Other states involved in the settlement include Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, California, Virginia and Washington.

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