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Palm Harbor charity falsely claims to donate funds to wounded veterans, state says

The multi-state investigation found "very little" money went to vets.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — A Palm Harbor-based veterans charity is being forced to close up shop following a multi-state investigation into its misuse of donations, Florida's Attorney General announced Tuesday. 

According to Attorney General Ashley Moody, Healing Heroes Network Inc. falsely promised to use donations to help wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Instead, an investigation into the charity found the majority of the proceeds Heroes Network received went to paying professional fundraisers, online advertising fees and the charity's former directors. 

"This is outrageous," Moody wrote in a statement. "The fact that anyone would exploit the service and sacrifice of our wounded military heroes to solicit money under false pretenses is deserving of the highest level of contempt."

HHN has been ordered to permanently cease all its charitable operations by the Pinellas Circuit Court. Its three former directors -- Stacy Spiegel, Allan Spiegel and Neal Spiegel -- have also agreed to pay $95,000 to a veterans charity that provides the services HHN originally promised. 

The Spiegels could also face a five-year ban from managing donations from any future nonprofit organization.

Other states that joined Florida in cracking down on the charity included California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.

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