ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SUES LOMBARD VETERANS CHARITY FOR MISAPPROPRIATED FUNDS
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a lawsuit against the Lombard-based charity Veterans Christian Network, Inc. (VCN) and its founders, Todd and Priscilla Olshefski, alleging that the Olshefskis misappropriated more than $10,000 from the charity.
Raoulís lawsuit was filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court against the Olshefskis and three other VCN directors. The lawsuit alleges the Olshefskis and VCNís other directors, including Harlin Neal and Robert Atkinson misused the charityís funds that were intended to support services for returning veterans. Raoul also said Todd Olshefski has a criminal history involving fraud or theft.
According to Raoulís complaint, the Olshefskis formed VCN in March 2018, which is when they began soliciting donations to support programs for veterans returning from combat. Raoul alleges VCN failed to register with the Attorney Generalís office as required by law and failed to file the statutorily-required reports accounting for VCNís charitable activities. An investigation by Raoulís office found that of $28,000 collected and deposited into a VCN bank account controlled by the Olshefskis, it was unclear whether any money was used for programs benefitting veterans. The lawsuit alleges that the Olshefskis withdrew at least $10,000 as cash and spent it on items unrelated to VCN.
ďThe defendants took advantage of people who thought their donations would support the men and women who serve our country,Ē Raoul said. ďI filed this lawsuit to ensure that the operators of VCN are held accountable for stealing funding intended for veterans Ė and using it for their own purposes.Ē
The Attorney Generalís lawsuit seeks to remove Todd and Priscilla Olshefski from VCN operations and to ban each of VCNís directors from managing future charitable activities. The Attorney Generalís office is also seeking a full accounting of the charityís funds, including all funds from which the Olshefskis withdrew cash or used on expenses unrelated to the VCNís mission. Additionally, Raoul is asking the court to hold them liable for all monies they misused or for which they are unable to account.
Deputy Bureau Chief Barry Goldberg, Senior Assistant Attorney General Kristin Louis, and Assistant Attorney General Pooja Shah are handling the case for Raoulís Charitable Trust Bureau.