Organization masquerading as military charity to pay restitution in 4 states, including Md. and Va.

A for-profit organization that claimed to deliver care packages to deployed service members has been shut down and ordered to pay almost $287,000 in restitution.

Hearts 2 Heroes operated in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Officials said that the company misrepresented itself as a charity but was actually a for-profit company.

The settlement includes all four states in the agreement.

State officials alleged that paid staff members claimed to be veterans or volunteers and made door-to-door pitches to solicit money for the packages, but staff members skimmed from the cash donations for personal use.

Virginia State Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement, “I hope this settlement sends a strong message to other organizations that may have similar deceptive operations that they must follow through with their promises and be honest about where their money is going.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the operators of the company are “permanently banned from engaging in charitable solicitations or working for a charitable organization.” The restitution judgement will be suspended as long as the company meets this and all other terms of the agreement. In addition, the states will receive a total of $10,000.

Maryland State Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement, “This is another reminder to give wisely and remain vigilant against those who take advantage of the goodwill and generosity of donors.”

Maryland and Virginia urge donors to verify and research charities before giving.

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