Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Dec 05 2018

The Ferguson File - a monthly e-newsletter

Dear Friends,Headshot of Attorney General Bob Ferguson

During this recent season of Thanksgiving, I reflected on the things for which I am most grateful. In addition to my family, friends and role as your Attorney General, the men and women who have served in our armed forces hold a special place in my heart.

Like many Washingtonians, I come from a family of veterans. I know that military service members and veterans, in addition to their families, have made tremendous sacrifices for our country. I am committed to standing up for them and ensuring they have the legal resources they need.

In honor of Veterans Day, my office launched resources aimed at helping military service members and veterans deal with legal issues. We started a new civil legal assistance program for current military service members called the Military Engagement & Directed Advocacy by Lawyers (MEDAL) Program. In addition, my office updated our Military & Veteran Legal Resource Guide.

This month, we also announced that a Pierce County judge granted an injunction against Fallen Hero Bracelets and other deceptive charitable organizations that claimed to benefit veterans, as part of a lawsuit we filed in July.

In this issue:

Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.

Sincerely,

Bob Ferguson signature

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Connecting military members and veterans with legal help

This month, my office launched the Military Engagement & Directed Advocacy by Lawyers (MEDAL) Program to help connect current military members with volunteer attorneys who can assist them with various legal issues. We also updated the Attorney General’s Military & Veteran Legal Resource Guide, which provides military personnel and veterans with information about legal resources and federal and state laws specifically applicable to them.

These resources are part of my office’s Military & Veterans Initiative, an effort to educate military service members and veterans about their rights and resources available, enforce legal protections within the Attorney General’s authority, and promote and facilitate access to civil legal services.

We must ensure the men and women who serve our country in uniform get the legal assistance they need. In recognition of their service to defend the Constitution and the rule of law, I am committed to building partnerships with other members of the legal community throughout the state so that we can meet this shared duty.

 

The Goldendale Sentinel
AG launches new program for military families and legal help


One of the bracelets displayed on Fallen Hero Bracelets website

Cracking down on deceptive charities for veterans

In July, my office filed a lawsuit against a Spanaway-based nonprofit, Fallen Hero Bracelets, and its director, Michael Friedmann, alleging they misled customers into believing their purchases were benefiting veterans’ charities. The lawsuit is a part of my Military & Veterans Initiative and Operation Donate with Honor, a nationwide effort combatting veterans’ fundraising fraud coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of State Charities Officials.

Fallen Hero Bracelets was selling bracelets engraved with names of soldiers killed in action, in addition to hats, pins, badges, coins and pens. Its website claimed that proceeds from these purchases were going to be used to help veterans, including providing scholarships to children of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, giving trained service dogs to soldiers suffering from severe PTSD and helping families dealing with separation and divorce. However, this was not the case. Friedmann also sued some customers who complained about slow delivery. He harassed others who complained or returned items.

On Nov. 16, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson granted our motion for a preliminary injunction against Fallen Hero Bracelets and other organizations run by Michael Friedmann. The injunction bars the organizations from engaging in abusive conduct toward prior or current customers, and forces them to cease operations until they register with the Secretary of State and provide financial reports for each year of their existence.

On Nov. 30, the court granted a preliminary injunction against Michael Friedmann, blocking him from soliciting any donations without registering his organization with the Secretary of State or claiming that any purchases or donations go toward veterans’ organizations, among other things.

Not only did Fallen Hero Bracelets deceive customers into thinking their purchases benefited veterans, it made verbal and legal attacks on customers who complained. Despite a lawsuit from my office and numerous complaints from duped consumers, the organization continued to pretend that its sales went toward improving veterans’ lives. This ruling will help put a stop to this organization’s atrocious actions.

 

The News Tribune
‘Fallen Hero’ bracelet maker ordered to shut business down in Spanaway

KGMI Radio
Judge gives cease and desist orders to phony veterans nonprofits


Working across Washington

I am always thankful for the opportunity to talk with Washingtonians about our work at the Attorney General’s Office.

This month, I spoke about my office’s federal litigation with students at the University of Washington School of Law, Eastern Washington University and the Thomas Foley Institute at Washington State University. Our federal litigation was also the focus of my conversations with Washingtonians at the Center for Human Services in Shoreline and the Sunset Club in Seattle.

In addition, I discussed labor and workers’ rights cases at a Working Washington and Fair Work Center event in Seattle and joined Secretary of State Kim Wyman to let Washingtonians know how they can “give smart” and avoid charity scams this holiday season.

Finally, I spoke about the work of the Attorney General’s Office at Rotary club meetings in Puyallup, Shelton, Redmond, Seattle and Colfax.

 

KOMO News
State suit against local holiday charity highlights need to ask questions before you give

Redmond Reporter
Washington’s attorney general talks veterans, guns and suing Trump

The Daily
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks on federal lawsuits at UW School of Law


 

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