Fake veteran busted claiming to “raise money for returning veterans”

All across the United States there are grocery stores that approve organizations to fund-raise out front, but how many actually vet them before approving?

Last week, a man found himself in a confrontation with a man representing an alleged veteran charity –who call themselves United Veterans- in front of a store in Cedartown, Georgia.

In the video, KJ Owens confronts a man partially dressed in a U.S. Army uniform to question why he is representing himself as a veteran for the veteran charity.

Owens asks the man representing United Veterans why he has a Vietnam Veteran’s hat, asking him for his military ID, to provide proof of his service.

After storming away and scrolling through his phone -possibly for some proof of service-  he calls Owens an “ignorant ass.”

Owens refuses to back down as the man calls for assistance, calling into question the legitimacy of “United Veterans.”

The man replies by saying, “we have to have paperwork to be certified to work here…dumb-ass…we are a 501(c) non-profit and yes we have a website too.”

As a 501(c) non-profit an organization is open to receiving unlimited donations for their charitable cause, all exempt from federal income taxes.

While Owen’s original intent and actions -screaming stolen valor- might have been misplaced, it shed light on a much larger issue.

After a brief investigation of the Birmingham, Alabama based charity, United Veterans, many red flags were raised.

Popular Military called the charity to find out how they help veterans because their website only offers information about how to donate to them.

A woman answered the toll-free number by simply stating, “United Veterans,” and Popular Military inquired about their mission, stating their public information was very vague.

She claimed she worked out of their sole location –an address that is not registered to a “United Veterans” online- in Birmingham, Alabama.  In addition to their office, they have a thrift store that “sells to the public” the goods that have been donated to their charity.

Popular Military inquired about what they do with the money that is donated to all of the collection’s people, most notably the man in Cedartown, GA – nearly a one hour and forty-five minute drive from Birmingham. The answer received was troubling.

She stated that all the money goes into an account and that “every so often on Sundays,” they will hold events where veterans can attend and receive free clothing and some bills paid.

Not satisfied with the answer given by a local “charity” that collects money under the guise of a national charity brand name, Popular Military asked if United Veterans was a 501(c) non-profit -as the website states- and she simply replied by saying she did not know what that was.

According to GuideStar, “This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.”

“This charitable organization either has not responded to written BBB requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability,” according to the Better Business Bureau.

Hoping to find some shred of proof that the money collected from communities over 100 miles away have benefited veterans in Birmingham, Popular Military asked for some evidence- ranging from pictures, articles or social media posts of it occurring.

Unfortunately, this question reached a dead end as did the conversation.

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