MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An organization that was supposed to help veterans will now be dissolved after it was accused of being a scam by 25 states.
Accusers say the charity scammed thousands of people who are in need and are alleging thousands of deceptive solicitation violations against the organization.
According to Tennessee’s Secretary of State, Vietnow recently reported raising nearly $2 million dollars nationwide, but only 5 percent of funds raised went to charitable programs.
The Mid-South is known to be a giving place, but according to officials this investigation in to the non-profit Vietnow, is much bigger than the Memphis area.
It started in Michigan with investigators there saying they found deceptive solicitation.
Tennessee then started looking into Vietnow and joined the more than 20 other states who were working to get the organization dissolved.
We did some investigating and discovered Memphis has a bigger connection than so-called duped donors. We tracked down the former President of Vietnow here in town, who says he was still the President up until last Monday.
"We are not deceiving the public," said the former President of Vietnow, Joe Lewis.
Joe Lewis, a Vietnam veteran himself, said Vietnow had every good intention to help veterans and did help with homeless programs, veteran stand downs around the country and provided information on agent orange gulf war illness.
"What happened there was a solicitor that was misrepresenting statements, and they went off their script and the state of Michigan didn’t like that. That’s what started this."
Lewis says there were other problems like financial forms were filled out incorrectly.
He says he’ll find another way to help his fellow veterans while the state warns citizens to be careful who you donate to.