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HUMAN TRAFFICKING CHARITIES SUED FOR FRAUD, STEALING GOVERNMENT MONEY, DONATIONS, GRANTS
Sex Trafficking Charity organization faces lawsuit
AG: Ahava Kids misused thousands of dollars
Story by: Tina Detelj
News 8 (WTNH)
Hartford, CT, USA (WTNH) - The operator of a Connecticut, shoreline charity is in big trouble with the state. The operator of the Old Saybrook-based " Ahava Kids" is accused of misusing thousands of dollars in charitable contributions.
A lawsuit was filed in Hartford Superior Court. It says that nearly half of the quarter million dollars in contributions collected by the charity in the past five years have been squandered.
It was a worker on the Ahava Kids website who apparently blew the whistle on the operator of the charity.
Raymond Bechard claimed to help victims of human trafficking and distribute AIDS medications to orphaned children in third world countries.
"This individual, essentially, wasted, squandered, misused and misappropriated this money," said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
At one time, Ahava Kids operated from a small office in a building in Old Saybrook and, according to the lawsuit, they spent donated money in department stores, grocery stores, sporting goods stores, gasoline and ATM cash withdrawals.
In addition, it is alleged that Bechard operated four businesses out of his home on Bay View Road and channeled $67,000 through the phony firms called "Disciple Makers Workshop," "Son Celebration," "Gift Catalog Online," and "Compel Communications."
"As much as $100,000 was taken from the cause of aiding orphan children with AIDS and victims of human trafficking," Attorney General Blumenthal said.
In a statment, a lawyer for Bechard said, "Any alleged financial disclosures, which are alleged to be inaccurate, have been rectified. We believe that the investigation and civil suit against Ahava Kids is misguided. It is unfortunate that the State of Connecticut is now focusing its resources to malign a small organization that has done so much good."
The Attorney General also claims that this so called 'safe house' that Bechard told News Channel 8 the charity was operating has been seldom, if ever, used.
Bechard's attorney said the safe house has been used three times. Attorney General Blumenthal is seeking repayment and penalties. The lawsuit was filed in coordination with the State Department of Consumer Protection.
Updated: Thursday, 01 Oct 2009, 11:18 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 01 Oct 2009, 7:46 PM EDT