A West Bloomfield man set up phony veterans' charities with similar-sounding names to national charities in a telemarketing scam will spend at least the next year and a half in prison.
The Michigan Attorney General's office wrote in a release Wednesday that Neil Thrasher, 37, was sentenced to 17 months to 10 years in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $74,400 to Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.
Thrasher was sentenced Nov. 7. Authorities said Thrasher's charities were called the Paralyzed American Veterans and Disabled Veterans of America — similar to the two national veterans' organizations.
Authorities said he collected more than $100,000 from January 2009 through April 2012 and spent the money at athletic clubs, liquor stores and restaurants.
He pleaded no contest on Oct. 3 in Oakland County Circuit Court to two counts of embezzlement from a charitable organization and one count of violation of the Charitable Solicitation Act.
People are encouraged to report any future solicitations by the Paralyzed American Veterans, Disabled Veterans of America or the Veterans of America Foundation to the Michigan Attorney General's Office Charitable Trust Section by calling (517) 373-1152 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints can also be mailed to Charitable Trust Section, P.O. Box 30214, Lansing, MI 48909.