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Brooklyn sham-charity that stole $200k from donors to vets shut down by Schneiderman

March 26, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement to shut down a Brooklyn shell charity. Eagle file photo by Paul Frangipane
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Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office reached a settlement Monday that shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing company that scammed almost $200,000 from donors who intended to aid veterans, officials said.

Menacola Marketing, Inc. worked on behalf of the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation (NVVF) — a shell charity that was shut down in 2016 after being caught soliciting millions of dollars while providing little help to veterans — according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.

Using paid callers from phone rooms in Brooklyn, Menacola raised nearly $190,000 from 2010 to 2016. The callers told potential donors that funds would aid veterans by helping pay for personal care packages, guide books of services, food pantries and transportation for doctor appointments. However, 85 percent of donations went straight to Menacola, according to the statement.

As Menacola is shut down, its heads, Joseph and Katherine DeGregorio are permanently barred from fundraising for charity. In addition, they will pay $100,000 to be distributed to veteran charities.

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“We have zero tolerance for shell charities that shamelessly exploit our veterans and other New Yorkers in need in order to line fundraisers’ pockets,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the statement. “New Yorkers should be able to donate with confidence and know that their money will actually support the causes advertised.”

Menacola also fundraised for the sham charities, Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation and Cancer Fund of America, both shut down by the attorney general.

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