State AGs announce settlement with deceptive veterans’ charity
A coalition of 11 states, including Virginia, has secured a settlement with Healing Heroes Network Inc. resolving allegations of deceptive sweepstakes mailers and telephone solicitations to help wounded veterans.
Under the terms of the settlement, Healing Heroes Network Inc. and the related organization Hero Giveaways LLC to permanently cease all charitable solicitations to help wounded veterans.
Healing Heroes Network’s former directors, Stacey Spiegel, Allan Spiegel and Neal Spiegel, have agreed to pay $95,000 to be provided to a veterans’ charity whose mission matches the representations made by the charity.
The Spiegels are banned for five years from overseeing, managing, or soliciting charitable contributions for any nonprofit organization.
“Organizations and individuals who deceive kind-hearted Virginians who only want to help veterans and servicemembers are despicable and must be held accountable,” Virginia Attorney General Herring said. “Deceptive charities will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth and my office will continue to vigorously pursue bad actors who take advantage of the kindness of Virginians to line their own pockets. I want to encourage any Virginian who plans on donating to charities to do your research and make sure you are donating to legitimate, trustworthy organizations.”
Healing Heroes Network had promised through sweepstakes mailers and telephone solicitations to use donations to help wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan receive medical treatments that the Department of Veterans Affairs did not readily provide. The charity also falsely claimed on social media in 2016 and 2017 to dedicate 100 percent of proceeds to wounded veterans.
The investigation revealed that very little of the charitable contributions received by the Healing Heroes Network were used to further this charitable mission. Instead, donations were used to pay professional fundraisers, online advertising fees, the salaries of Stacey Spiegel and her son, Neal Spiegel, and to purchase T-shirts from another family member’s T-shirt business.