Lawsuit alleges Florida veterans charity scammed $6.5 million from donors instead of helping vets


In a lawsuit filed March 27 in Florida's Middle District Court, a Sarasota non-profit called American Veterans Foundation Inc is accused of bilking more than $6.5 million from donors who thought they were sending care packages to troops overseas, and helping homeless vets.

The lawsuit alleges that the "donations almost entirely benefited" the group's founder, Paul K. Monville, who ran the non-profit between 2014 and 2017. Monville is accused of recruiting for-profit groups to call and solicit donations, which usually ranged between $10 to $50.

However, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 92 percent of all that money that AVF earned went to Monville and his fundraisers.

In 2014, the group only helped literally one homeless veteran with a single payment of $1,565, or 0.2 percent of its annual contributions, says the lawsuit. Later that year, the group decided to stop assisting homeless vets (or that one veteran), but continued to advertise the service and solicit donations. The group also stated that they offered counseling and referral programs despite never spending a single dollar on such programs, says the lawsuit.

Here’s one of the more grueling parts of the lawsuit:


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Attorney General’s Office are seeking injunctive relief against AVF, as well as restitution, rescission or reformation of contracts, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, and a refund of stolen money.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.