(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today awarded a $6,000 veterans charity grant to the Missing in America Project. The grant was funded by proceeds recovered in the investigation of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a fraudulent charity scam which solicited donations intended to benefit veterans.
“On a day which we remember so many American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice, I am pleased we can award a grant to the Missing in America Project, which helps provide proper interment of the unclaimed remains of forgotten veterans,” said Attorney General DeWine.
The Missing in America Project is a national organization that works to locate, identify, and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans. The organization’s mission is to honor those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these veterans.
Previously, eight other grants were awarded to various veterans charities around Ohio. Grants were awarded on November 11 to the Fisher Houses at Wright-Patterson Medical Centers I & II in Dayton, Honor Flight Northwest Ohio in Lucas County, the Equestrian Therapy Program in Cridersville, Friends of the 179th in Mansfield, the Joseph House for Homeless Veterans in Cincinnati, USO of Northern Ohio in Cleveland, Veterans’ Outreach in Struthers, and Operation Buckeye in Columbus.
In recovering these funds which were assets of the scam charity, the Court Order directed the funds be distributed to legitimate organizations that benefit veterans. Today’s grant is the last awarded from the more than $76,000 recovered.
The U.S. Navy Veterans Association was the subject of an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General for fraudulent charitable solicitation. The organization’s treasurer, Blanca Contreras, was sentenced in August to five years in prison for theft, money laundering, tampering with records, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The leader of the organization, a man known by the alias Bobby Thompson, was indicted by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on October 13, 2010, but remains at large. If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of the man known as Bobby Thompson, they are encouraged to contact BCI at 800-282-3784.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840