Maryland Joins FTC In ‘Operation Donate With Honor’

— Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith announced enforcement actions taken against four sham charities operating in Maryland as part of a nationwide sweep and education initiative, “Operation Donate with Honor.”

On Thursday, July 19, 2018, enforcement actions were announced against the four charities listed: Help the Vets, Inc. and Neil G. Paulson, Sr.; Operation Troop Aid - Consent Agreement; Southern Maryland Veterans Association/ Daniel Brashear; and Vietnow.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with Attorneys General and charity regulators from 70 offices in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico, announced more than 100 actions against fraudulent charities that con consumers by falsely promising their donations will help veterans and servicemembers.

In the state actions announced, charities and fundraisers sought donations online and via telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts, and at retail stores, falsely promising to help homeless and disabled veterans, to provide veterans with employment counseling, mental health counseling or other assistance, and to send care packages to deployed service members.

“Sham charities steal from consumers,” said Attorney General Frosh. “They rely on our noble instincts to help veterans and other worthy causes but they use the money they collect to enrich themselves. They hurt legitimate charitable organizations by siphoning off support from their good work. We are committed to putting these fraudsters out of business.”

“Scam artists are on the prowl, ready to take advantage of donors who want to help veterans,” said Secretary of State Wobensmith. “Make sure your donations go to reputable, well-established charities.”

The FTC launched this ongoing effort with the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO). The initiative includes an education campaign, to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. Donors and business owners can find information to help them donate wisely and make their donations count at FTC.gov/Charity.