Hartford (WTNH) - The operator of a Connecticut, shoreline charity is in bigtrouble with the state. The operator of the Old Saybrook-based "Ahava Kids"is accused of misusing thousands of dollars in charitablecontributions.
A lawsuit was filed in Hartford Superior Court. It says thatnearly half of the quarter million dollars in contributionscollected by the charity in the past five years have beensquandered.
It was a worker on the Ahava Kids website who apparently blewthe whistle on the operator of the charity.
Raymond Bechard claimed to help victims of human trafficking anddistribute AIDS medications to orphaned children in third worldcountries.
"This individual, essentially, wasted, squandered, misused andmisappropriated this money," said Attorney General RichardBlumenthal.
At one time, Ahava Kids operated from a small office in abuilding in Old Saybrook and, according to the lawsuit, they spentdonated money in department stores, grocery stores, sporting goodsstores, gasoline and ATM cash withdrawals.
In addition, it is alleged that Bechard operated fourbusinesses out of his home on Bay View Road and channeled $67,000through the phony firms called "Disciple Makers Workshop," "SonCelebration," "Gift Catalog Online," and "CompelCommunications."
"As much as $100,000 was taken from the cause of aiding orphanchildren with AIDS and victims of human trafficking," AttorneyGeneral Blumenthal said.
In a statment, a lawyer for Bechard said, "Any allegedfinancial disclosures, which are alleged to be inaccurate, havebeen rectified. We believe that the investigation and civil suitagainst Ahava Kids is misguided. It is unfortunate that the Stateof Connecticut is now focusing its resources to malign a smallorganization that has done so much good."
The Attorney General also claims that this so called 'safehouse' that Bechard told News Channel 8 the charity was operatinghas been seldom, if ever, used.
Bechard's attorney said the safe house has been used threetimes. Attorney General Blumenthal is seeking repayment andpenalties. The lawsuit was filed in coordination with the StateDepartment of Consumer Protection.
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