Bryan Cohen Nov. 15, 2012, 4:38pm

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Wednesday that a West Bloomfield man who allegedly impersonated legitimate veterans groups and created fake charities will pay $74,400 in restitution.

Neil Thrasher was ordered to pay $45,143 of restitution to Disabled American Veterans and restitution of $29,257 to Paralyzed Veterans of America and was sentenced to 17 months to 10 years in prison

Thrasher pleaded no contest to creating Disabled Veterans of America and The Paralyzed American Veterans, two fake charities with strikingly similar names to two longstanding national charities.

"Creating phony charities to line your pockets violates state law and abuses the public trust," Schuette said. "Michigan citizens deserve to know that money they give to veterans organizations actually goes to help veterans."

Between January 2009 and April 2012, Thrasher allegedly collected more than $180,000 through telemarketing from unsuspecting donors and used a significant portion of the money as personal funds. Thrasher used the charitable donations to make purchases at restaurants, liquor stores and athletic clubs. Most of the money was allegedly never used for veterans or veterans organizations.

Thrasher pleaded no contest to two counts of Embezzlement from a Charitable Organization and one count of Violation of the Charitable Solicitation Act on Oct. 3 in Oakland County Circuit Court.

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