- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Sues Animal Rescue Owner for Misappropriation of Charitable Funds
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey announced today a lawsuit against the founder and president of Destiny’s Road Animal Rescue, an animal rescue organization in Palmer, for allegedly mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars of the charity’s funds and using misleading and deceptive practices to solicit these funds from donors.
In a complaint filed on Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, the AG’s Office alleged that Dawn Cardinal, of Palmer, misappropriated or is otherwise unable to account for over $360,000 of Destiny Road’s assets, and that Cardinal used those assets for personal expenses, including hair and nail salon services, fast food purchases, and cash withdrawals.
“Funds that were meant to help animals were instead repeatedly bankrolled by this defendant for her personal expenses,” said AG Healey. “We cannot allow bad actors to undermine the public’s trust in our nonprofit institutions and waste resources intended for charitable purposes.”
The AG’s Office also alleges that from 2014 through 2018, Cardinal raised more than $650,000 through frequent, sometimes aggressive and deceptive online solicitations made to the general public. The complaint further alleges that Cardinal and Destiny’s Road made false statements regarding assets, revenue, and solicitation disclosures to the AG’s Office on the charity’s required annual filings.
Destiny’s Road is a charitable organization based in Palmer organized to match dogs in need with foster or permanent homes, and pay for relocation, veterinary, boarding, and behavioral services for these dogs.
The AG’s Office seeks penalties, full restitution to the charity, disgorgement of funds that were improperly obtained, and an order preventing Cardinal from operating as a fiduciary of a public charity in Massachusetts.
The Attorney General’s Office, through its Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division, is responsible for overseeing the public’s interest in the Commonwealth’s non-profit charitable organizations.
Individuals with inquiries or complaints about charitable solicitations should call the AG’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division at 617-963-2315, or access the complaint form online.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Bernardo Cuadra with assistance from Investigator Dan Ferullo, both of the AG’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division.