Attorney General Investigates False Claims About Veterans

ALBANNY — A veteran who runs a nonprofit foundation in the Hudson Valley has sparked nationwide outcry last week after he falsely claimed homeless veterans were evacuated by immigrants at several hotels. We are investigating allegations that it may have caused a large amount of donations. for her organization.

According to state officials, the claim is the culmination of the Yellik Israel Tony Foundation for Premise, which was founded in 2014 and named after her son, who was born prematurely and died at seven months of age. It was done by CEO Sharon Tony Finch. Founded in Sullivan County and now headquartered in Orange County, Tony Finch’s nonprofit has expanded over the past nine years to provide support services to veterans and the homeless.

According to local officials, Tony Finch and her organization, known as the YIT Foundation, are working to help veterans and others by providing toiletry kits, food and sleeping bags to homeless individuals. He has been doing it in the local community for many years.

The Times Union reported Friday that three homeless men were evicted from a Newburgh-area hotel last week after Tony Finch brought them and several other homeless men in front of cameras earlier this week. It was reported that he was forced to make false claims. The men said they were offered $100 to participate in the scheme.

While allegations that veterans were forced out of their hotel rooms fell apart this week, Tony Finch publicly announced that he was awarded the Purple Heart in March 2010 for combat injuries while on duty in Iraq. There is also conflicting information about

Tony Finch, 43, served as a specialist in the Army from 2006 to 2015, including two from March 2007 and October 2009, according to records provided by the U.S. Army on Thursday. It is confirmed that the one-year dispatch to Iraq was included. Her nearly 20 military awards include: According to Army records, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. She is also in the National Purple Heart Hall of Fame.

However, there is no record in Tony Finch’s Army Personnel File indicating that she received the Purple Heart. Army officials say the army has no record of her receiving a Combat Merit Award, which is usually given to soldiers who were “personally in the field and under hostile fire.”

The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame, a New York organization under the jurisdiction of the State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Service, has listed Tony-Finch as a Purple Heart recipient.

Anita Pidala, director of the New Windsor Hall of Fame, maintains an unofficial list honoring Purple Heart recipients who have voluntarily enrolled in the organization, but Tony Finch is the Army’s resignation letter (DD and called) provided them with a copy. 214 — This marks her being awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Pidala said enrolled students must submit official documents confirming receipt of the award.

“We’ve seen situations where there is verification, but maybe they[the military]don’t have it for some reason,” said Pidala. “In our files, Sharon Dennis Tony’s DD-214 is recorded as Purple Heart.”

An official with the U.S. Army Personnel Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky, said this week, “We were unable to confirm (from records) that Ms. Sharon Tony won the Purple Heart Award.” Officials at the Army Public Relations Office in Arlington, Virginia, also examined Tony Finch’s service records, which included a copy of DD-214 on file, which showed that she was awarded the Purple Heart. said it was not shown.

Tony Finch, who identifies himself as a disabled veteran in his Hall of Fame records, said on March 10, 2010, that a convoy of the 3rd Infantry Division was “wounded during combat” outside Kars, Iraq. provided information indicating that ambushed. “

“I was injured when our car passed over an IED (improvised explosive device),” her entry reads. “Since then, I have had 82 surgeries.”

In an official statement, Tony Finch said he suffered a “traumatic brain injury” in the explosion. That year she stayed in Iraq for another seven months, and her military records show that her second overseas deployment was completed. A traumatic brain injury is similar to a concussion and can be caused by an explosion, a blow to the head, or a vehicle crash. A little over a decade ago, the Army adjusted its policy to award the Purple Heart for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“DD-214 cannot be counterfeited,” Tony Finch said on Friday, adding that his discharge papers had been updated to reflect his receipt of the Purple Heart after his discharge. She said the Army needed to update her records and offered to provide medical records documenting her extensive surgery and combat injuries.

“Why is everyone doing this crazy investigation against me?” she added in a text message. “Updated when I left the military.”

It’s unclear if last week’s false allegation that veterans were forced out of hotels to make room for immigrants from New York City will be investigated as a criminal case.

Orange County District Attorney David Houbler said this week that the office had received a letter from Rep. Brian Maher (R, Walden), who had appealed in national media and in the state legislature for help for veterans he believed had been displaced. said he was contacted. In an interview with The Times Union on Thursday, Ma told Tony Finch to provide records showing the nonprofit paid for the stay of about 20 veterans at a hotel in Newburgh. said he had asked to meet at the bank that afternoon.

Naval Reserve Marine Marr said that when Tony Finch did not show up at the bank after waiting for more than two hours, he called her and confronted her with what he now knows to be a lie. Ma said she drove to another motel on May 12 and met with two homeless men who Tony Finch said had been kicked out of her room at the Crossroads Hotel, the hotel. Authorities deny the charges.

Earlier this week, Tony Finch provided an image of the nonprofit’s credit card and an alleged receipt showing that the credit card paid $37,800 to the Crossroads Hotel on April 12. bottom. These images were sent to Maher as evidence that the hotel room had been booked and paid for by the Foundation.

Maher said he believes two men he met at a hotel last week lied to him and was outmaneuvered by Tony Finch, but he will report the matter to the Orange County District Attorney and the state attorney general’s office. was I got a call from a legislator this week.

Houbler said in an interview Friday morning that his firm had not received a formal complaint, but could face fraud charges if the organization received donations under false pretenses. admitted that

“Until someone accuses us of some kind of financial impropriety…it’s[handled by]the Attorney General’s Charity Office,” Houbler said. “I don’t know anyone who says there is financial fraud.”

The district attorney said Tony Finch is a well-known and respected person in the area and has earned a reputation for his work in helping the homeless, veterans and others.

“She’s part of the Veterans Union and part of everything,” Houbler said. “I know for a fact that she donated sleeping bags to the county. She has cared for displaced people in the past. We will be sure to notify law enforcement to investigate.”

In a statement released by the district attorney’s office on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson said: “Failure to lie further is not itself a criminal offence, especially in the absence of allegations of financial impropriety. I assure you that.”

On June 14, the Tony Finch Foundation will host an annual fundraiser and awards ceremony for veterans at West Point Eisenhower Hall in West Point, in partnership with Soldier 4 Life Group. The event, which costs $100 per ticket, is advertised as the organization’s seventh annual celebration. The event also offers sponsorship packages ranging from $1,000 to his $8,000.

The YIT Foundation’s finances, including how much money it has raised through donations and other sources of income, are not readily available in public records. The organization is not registered with the state Attorney General’s Office of Charity and has only submitted minimal documentation to the Internal Revenue Service using tax forms showing gross income of less than $50,000 annually. It seems

Lana Bellamy contributed reporting for this article.

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