Judge orders veterans’ charity accused of misappropriating funds to cease operations

A judge entered a court order prohibiting the Veterans Christian Network from operating and its founders, Todd and Priscilla Olshefski, from fundraising or engaging in future charitable activities.

SHARE Judge orders veterans’ charity accused of misappropriating funds to cease operations
judge_and_gavel.jpeg

A Cook County judge ruled against the Lombard-based Veterans Christian Network Aug. 14, 2019, in a lawsuit accusing the charity and its directors of misappropriating money that was donated to help veterans.

Adobe Stock Photo

A Cook County judge has barred a Lombard-based charity from collecting donations after ruling the group and its founders misappropriated money solicited to help veterans.

Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson entered the court order Aug. 14 prohibiting the Veterans Christian Network from operating and its founders, Todd and Priscilla Olshefski, from fundraising or engaging in future charitable activities, according to a statement from the Illinois attorney general’s office.

The ruling resolved a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office accusing VCN and its directors of violating state charity laws by misusing money they collected. The order came after the defendants failed to show up for multiple hearings.

The court also issued a $28,337 judgment against VCN and the Olshefskis after they allegedly collected that amount from donors and failed to use it for the charity’s stated goal, prosecutors said.

Priscilla Olshefski (left) and Todd Olshefski

Priscilla Olshefski (left) and Todd Olshefski

Wheaton police

Todd Olshefski, 50, and his 60-year-old wife, Priscilla, formed VCN in March 2018 and started soliciting donations “to support programs for veterans returning from combat,” the attorney general’s office said. The suit accused the organization of failing to register with the attorney general’s office or file reports on its charitable activities.

Of all the funds collected and deposited into a VCN account controlled by the Olshefskis, “it was unclear whether any money was used for programs benefitting veterans,” prosecutors said. The suit alleged the couple withdrew at least $10,000 in cash from the account to spend on personal items.

In addition to the lawsuit, the Olshefskis were each charged in May with a felony count of unlawful use of charitable funds in DuPage County. Priscilla Olshefski pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to 170 days in jail.

DuPage county prosecutors accused them of spending money raised on rent, car payments, insurance and veterinary bills for their dog.

The criminal case against Todd Olshefski is pending.

Read more on crime, and track the city’s homicides.

The Latest
Juniors Cam Cerese, Dennasio LaGioia and Tommy Rochford led the Lancers to the win against one of the best teams in Fenton school history.
Tyler Kolek had 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who moved into a tie with No. 13 Xavier atop the Big East.
Mayer tied his career high with five three-pointers and Jayden Epps added 13 points for the Fighting Illini, who have won six of their last seven.
Citting “the heinous actions of a few,” the police chief reversed an earlier position that she would keep the so-called Scorpion unit intact.
While coach Billy Donovan was still holding out hope that Ball’s left knee rehab really picks up, the reality of the situation was not good. “He’s nowhere near playing, he’s just not,’’ Donovan said on Saturday. He also pointed out that a decision could be reached on Ball’s season at the All-Star Break.