Authorities allege that former deputy Robert J. Simeone used money from a charity for personal use. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A charity run by a former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been issued a $60,000 fine and had its registration revoked because it improperly used donations and misled donors, state officials said Friday.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services filed an administrative complaint against Children of Wounded Warriors, a not-for-profit charity that purported to raise money for the children of injured or slain military service members, police officers and firefighters.
>>MORE PBSO: Former deputy stole money from kids of ’warriors’
Robert J. Simeone, the former deputy who founded the charity, was arrested last month on allegations that he used proceeds from the charity for personal use.
Authorities alleged that at least two-thirds of money collected by Children of Wounded Warriors went to either Simeone, or to businesses that he ran, including drug-treatment centers connected to two previous patient-brokering charges against him.
Simeone, who lives west of Boynton Beach, is charged with conducting an organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more, two counts of money laundering and three counts of grand theft. Court records say he has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
An attempt to reach him for comment Friday was unsuccessful.
In filing the administrative complaint, state officials alleged the charity’s organizers lied on registration forms both about revenue amounts and the percentage of revenues allocated for charitable and operational purposes and that they stated that no funds were transferred to the accounts of any officer.
"This charity is a sham organization perpetrating a vile fraud against their donors, our wounded veterans and law enforcement, and the people of Florida," Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a prepared statement.
The charity has 21 days to request an administrative hearing and contest the department’s finding.
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