A Lynnwood wife and husband claiming to help impoverished autistic children were actually lining their pockets with donations taken outside Seattle-area grocery stores, the state Attorney General’s Office claims.
Brandie Christian was already caught in one charity scam involving assistance to children with autism. Now, state consumer protection investigators contend she and husband Joshua Hani have been scamming donors to a charity they launched – Autism Outreach Foundation – as regulators shuttered the other bogus nonprofit.
While they pledged to give money to poor parents whose children needed therapy for autism or related conditions, just $4,000 of the more than $400,000 they collected from donors actually went to needy families. Instead, state investigators contend Christian and Hani spent donors’ money on designer clothes, travel and personal expenses.
Earlier in September, attorneys for the state filed a civil lawsuit against the pair in an effort to shut down the Autism Outreach Foundation. The organization – which hasn’t issued a single grant to a struggling family in 2014 – appears to still be collecting money from donors.