Bryan Cohen Apr. 11, 2013, 6:15pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced an agreement Wednesday with two Columbus men to resolve allegations that they engaged in illegal charitable solicitation activities on behalf of Just 4 Vets.

William Hastings and Michael Gibson allegedly solicited patrons in front of multiple Wal-Mart and Kroger stores using the Just 4 Vets name, but failed to provide the charitable organization with any of the proceeds.

"Ohioans who give to charities that claim to assist veterans expect their donations to benefit the men and women who served our country in uniform," DeWine said. "In this case, Just 4 Vets never received any of the money supposedly collected for them, and (that's) unacceptable."

Just 4 Vets is a legitimate, non-profit organization created to help needy veterans and their families with day-to-day necessities. The organization retained Hastings to conduct charitable solicitations and Gibson assisted Hastings in recruiting others to solicit donations on behalf of Just 4 Vets. The organization was allegedly not made aware that Hastings, Gibson and their recruits started a charitable solicitation campaign and Just 4 Vets never received proceeds or an accounting of the solicitation activities.

Under the terms of an assurance of discontinuance, Hastings and Gibson may not hold a position as a volunteer, agent, representative, employee, trustee or officer of any Ohio-based charitable organization. Hastings and Gibson will also not be allowed to conduct or participate in any charitable solicitation for an organization in the state. Hastings and Gibson will be assessed a penalty of at least $10,000 or true damages for each failure to comply with the agreement.

More News