Feds accuse 4 suspects of scamming money by posing as a wounded veterans charity
Prosecutors say they stole more than $125,000 from people who falsely believed they were making legitimate donations to legitimate charities.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Four people are accused of stealing from wounded veterans by posing as a charity and scamming donations.
On Friday, federal prosecutors outlined the elaborate scheme they say the suspects were involved in. They say the four people scammed more than 1,000 victims in our area over a period of about six years. That scheme was all laid out in a massive indictment unsealed Friday.
After a two-year investigation, the four people were arrested and are now in federal custody. They are James Linville, of Clarksville; Thomas Johnson, of Henryville; Amy Bennett, of Henryville; and Joanie Watson, of Clarksville. They're accused of stealing more than $125,000 from people who thought they were making charitable donations to wounded veterans groups.
Federal investigators say the scammers posed as representatives from the Wounded Warrior Fund and the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Prosecutors say many victims thought they were donating to the legitimate Wounded Warrior Project.
Investigators say no money ever went to veterans or their families. Instead, they say the fraudsters used it all for their own personal gain, spending it at places like casinos and liquor stores.
"Let me make this simple because you can't get around this: these defendants stole from disabled veterans," said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. "There's some disposable fraud schemes out there, but you can't get much lower than this."
The accused scammers are facing several charges, including wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit both wire and mail fraud. Prosecutors say if they are convicted, they could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
If you think you may be a victim, you're urged to reach out to the U.S. Secret Service office in Louisville. They say they may be able to get you some of your money back through restitution.
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