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September 12, 2014

Wash. State Officials Say Autism Charity Scammed Donors

Washington State authorities are seeking to close down a purported autism nonprofit headed by a woman whose previous, similar organization was also shuttered by the state, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The Washington attorney general's office contends in a civil suit filed last week that Brandie Christian of Lynnwood, Wash., and her husband, Joshua Hani, lined their pockets from gifts to the Autism Outreach Foundation.

The couple launched the foundation in late 2012 as the state was shutting down Autism Awareness United, for which Ms. Christian worked, for alleged malfeasance. The foundation claims to channel donated funds into treatment for autistic children from poor families. Investigators say the charity has raised more than $400,000, largely from direct solicitations outside high-traffic stores, but has given just $4,000 to needy families. A lawyer for the couple did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.