Dayton, OH – Most of us can agree that people who steal from charity are lowest of the low. Cari Johnson, head of the charity A Dollar to Care, which helps soldiers incarcerated for crimes allegedly committed during combat, was apparently funneling her organization’s donations into booze and movies.
The Ohio Attorney General said on Friday that Johnson had blown donated funds at liquor stores, Redbox kiosks, and on other personal goods. After the fraud was discovered, she signed an agreement to cease operations, and must pay a $20,000 fine, half of which will be given to a charity that actually does its job.
The other half will pay for the investigation.
A Dollar to Care was not registered as a nonprofit with the IRS, or with the state as a charity. Still, it has organized several events, and its presence is visible all over online. Johnson’s faux-charity has a Facebook page, a Twitter and a GoFundMe page, and Johnson herself has even been interviewed by several military and mom blogs.
Her son is a member of the Ohio National Guard.
A Dollar to Care’s mission statement, pulled from the charity’s Facebook page, is as follows:
“Our major goal is to be able to help in the event of a financial burden such as food, travel expenses to and from their incarcerated warrior, warriors phone calls home, etc. Our core belief is no military member or their family should ever have to struggle to obtain basic necessities, especially when children are involved.”
She started the charity several years ago, but according to a complaint filed with the attorney general which spurred the investigation, “not a single soldier’s family has stepped up and acknowledged that they have received any support.”
Johnson, meanwhile, has to completely shut down her charity, including her various social media profiles, or else risk a $50,000 fine. A message on A Dollar to Care’s Facebook page says that she has not operated the charity since November “given my own personal issues.”
It’s not clear how much money Johnson’s charity has managed to collect in donations over the years she has been active, nor how much she embezzled. It is also not clear whether she will be required to make reparations with the victims of her scam.
[Image via: doomu, Shutterstock.com]