(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General today announced an agreement with Cari Johnson and her charitable organization, A Dollar to Care, to cease operations after evidence of misusing charitable funds was uncovered.
“Ohioans who support veteran-oriented charities trust that their donations actually benefit those who served our country in uniform and their families,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The Ohio Attorney General’s Office targets solicitors who fail to register and who misrepresent their charities. As we did in this case, we will continue to go after those who misuse contributions given to support our veterans.”
The stated charitable purpose of A Dollar to Care was to help with the monthly bills of soldiers who were incarcerated for crimes allegedly committed during combat. However, A Dollar to Care paid no bills or living expenses for incarcerated soldiers or their families, and the organization held only a few small events. Johnson, a resident of Riverside, Ohio, used the charity’s debit card at liquor stores, RedBox kiosks, for personal purchases and to withdraw a significant amount of cash. About $13,000 in unexplained expenses came out of the charity’s account.
A Dollar to Care solicited charitable donations from the public while claiming to have a 501(c)(3) status when in fact the application for tax exemption had never been submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. A Dollar to Care has not registered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as a charitable trust or as an organization intending to solicit for charitable contributions.
Under the terms of the Assurance of Discontinuance, A Dollar to Care will stop operating as a charitable organization and file with the Ohio Secretary of State to cancel its existence and will shut down any websites or social media operated on its behalf. Any assets remaining after outstanding debts to third parties are paid will be donated to a 501(c)(3) organization serving veterans. In addition, Johnson will pay a $20,000 fine to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and will not hold any position in or participate in soliciting donations for any charitable organization in Ohio. The penalty for each failure to comply will be a minimum of $50,000 or true damages at the Attorney General’s discretion.
For additional information about a charity or to file a complaint about a questionable organization, call the Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or go online at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840