Bryan Cohen Apr. 29, 2014, 2:59pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit on Friday against a veterans charity that allegedly engaged in the illegal solicitation of charitable donations and the use of deceptive fundraising tactics.

The Rhode Island-based Veterans Community Foundation Inc., the organization's CEO, Kimberly Silva, and its New England branch managers, Americo Renzi and Matthew Desautel, allegedly violated state charitable solicitation laws by soliciting donations in Massachusetts storefronts without a valid certificate of solicitation.

VCF also allegedly used unfair and deceptive charitable solicitation practices during its fundraising campaigns. The organization allegedly falsely stated that 80 percent of all donated dollars go directly to veteran program services.

"We allege that these defendants violated the public's trust by knowingly misleading potential donors while soliciting money for veterans," Coakley said. "There are many worthy veterans' charities that deserve support and generous donors should not have to worry about being misled as to where their money is going."

Coakley's office obtained a temporary restraining order against VCF and its officers, preventing them from any fundraising activities in Massachusetts until they satisfy state requirements and obtain a valid certificate of solicitation. Coakley's lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to bar the defendants from using deceptive fundraising tactics and order them to account for all money raised between 2012 and 2014.

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