FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) – State prosecutors say a Texas man swiped charitable donations “for the fallen soldiers of the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf,” and spent the money on himself. Walter Coleman claimed he would use the money for the United States Fallen Heroes Fund, to a build a national memorial for veterans.
The Texas attorney general says Coleman misappropriated money from the nonprofit foundation “for personal use, often paying for his mortgage, meals and utilities with the money collected from consumers.”
The complaint adds: “Coleman set up jars of money marked ‘United States Fallen Heroes Fund’ at various local stores, taking the money without accounting for any of the funds collected. Coleman misrepresented the Foundation’s tax exemption status to the City of Kennedale and the public. When the State began the investigation into Coleman’s activities he abruptly resigned as chairman of the foundation. But because Coleman has preyed upon the public with the deceptive conduct herein, the State seeks by this suit to enjoin him from any further such activity and association with the foundation.”
The complaint in Tarrant County Court claims that Coleman misrepresented the foundation’s tax status with a “falsified IRS determination letter,” and states that the foundation “was not and is not currently registered as a … tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service.”
Coleman resigned as chairman on July 28.
The state says, in its 14-page complaint, that the United States Fallen Heroes Fund is expected to “proceed in a lawful manner” under its new leadership.
Texas seeks an injunction, disgorgement and penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of deceptive trade laws.