Veterans Group Admits It Broke the Law
By Jennifer Kraus
A fundraising group that NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed now admits that it broke the law and has agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
Under an agreement with the state, the Veterans Support Organization can continue to collect donations. But NewsChannel 5 Investigates found, the VSO needs to find a new way to do it.
When NewsChannel 5 Investigates went undercover last year, we found the Veterans Support Organization using questionable tactics to raise money and making questionable claims about how that money was being spent.
Our stories prompted the state to launch its own investigation and take action against the VSO.
Now, the group admits in an agreement with the state that it broke the Tennessee Charitable Solicitations law, and it has agreed to pay $20,000 in penalties.
The VSO has also agreed to change the way it raises money and essentially stop collecting donations the way our investigation found them to be.
Fundraisers who are not veterans can no longer wear fatigues. The VSO cannot make false or misleading statements or tell donors their money will be spent on services the group does not provide here.
The VSO must also give the state a list each month of all of the places and times it plans to collect donations, meaning that as the VSO moves forward raising money the state will be watching.
Under the agreement, if the VSO is caught violating the order, the group will face additional fines and be banned from raising money in Tennessee for three years.