November 26, 2013
St. Louis, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that he has filed a civil lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court against Matthew Buckingham and his company, Veterans Aid From All Foreign Wars, Inc., arguing that Buckingham engaged in deception to solicit donations for wounded veterans and then kept the money for himself.
According to the lawsuit, Buckingham placed ads on Craiglist seeking female associates to sell raffle tickets in St. Louis-area bars, instructing them to tell potential purchasers that the proceeds from a July 4, 2013, raffle would be used to help St. Louis-area veterans. He also told his sales associates that he was a wounded veteran and worked for the Department of Homeland Security and various military branches, showing them military paraphernalia that he had collected from area recruiting offices.
According to Koster, Buckingham never served in the military, no raffle ever occurred, and no donations were ever distributed by Buckingham or his charity to veterans.
"Matthew Buckingham dishonored our veterans through deceit and took advantage of Missourians' charitable spirit," said Koster. "We will take action against those who prey on the goodwill of Missourians, especially at the expense of those who have sacrificed so much for our country."
Buckingham has pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal agent in a related federal case. Koster's suit asks the court to dissolve Veterans Aid From All Foreign Wars, impose a permanent injunction prohibiting Buckingham from further deceptive solicitations, and order Buckingham to pay restitution and civil penalties.