California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is suing two California charities claiming to support veterans in a civil lawsuit filed Monday.
The lawsuit seeks to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars that were collected through raffles by the operators of Wounded Warriors Support Group and Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement, announced the State Department of Justice.
The charities are run by Matthew G. Gregory, his wife Danella J. Gregory and their grown children Matthew J. Gregory and Gina D. Gregory.
The organization owners spent donated money on personal expenses such as shopping at Victoria’s Secret, paying off credit cards, traveling, dining, traffic school and more, according to the State Department of Justice.
The lawsuit seeks general damages, civil penalties, the forced closure of both charities and an order to prevent all four adults from operating a charity in California again.
"It’s a breach of the public trust to deceive and exploit the goodwill of generous Americans,” said Becerra, in a statement. "It’s worse when you do so at the expense of our veterans. I will vigorously investigate and prosecute any charity falsely claiming to help our veterans."
Becerra warned donors to be cautious with charities using the term "veterans" in their name, since that does not guarantee the donations will benefit veterans directly.
Tips for supporting veteran organizations can be found on the Attorney General’s website.