SAN DIEGO -- The mission statement for the group Marines and Mickey reads, “No Marine Left Behind – No Marine Stands Alone.”
Dawn Foster saw the mission in action in her own life.
"The hug you get on family day is indescribable,” Foster said.
However, Foster’s hug with her son almost didn't happen. She said she didn't have all the travel money needed to watch her son graduate from Marine boot camp in San Diego. She applied to the Marines and Mickey organization for financial assistance and they helped out with expenses.
"I felt compelled to pay it forward and start helping raise money from there forward,” she said.
Foster started raising money for the charity through GoFundMe, an online crowdsourcing platform, to help other families attend a graduation ceremony. She was specifically working to raise money for families of the graduating India Company.
Foster said the GoFundMe account was set up in order to transfer funds electronically. Each week, money would transfer into the Marines and Mickey charity bank account. The account transfers continued until Marines and Mickey came under fire last month. Questions were raised about the founder by another reputable charity, the Skip Wells Foundation.
Foster said the allegations prompted her to close the GoFundMe account for Marines and Mickey and ask for the previously transferred funds to be returned. Team 10 asked Foster if Marines and Mickey returned the funds.
“They said, ‘oh we're still going to help the families’” Foster said.
Foster told Team 10 she raised about $9,000 for families who were counting on the funding for travel to their loved one’s graduation. Marines and Mickey has not supplied any of that money to the families, Foster said.
"It’s sickening. These are families that need help.”
Working to get answers, Team 10 spoke by phone to a man claiming to be John Simpson, the founder of Marines and Mickey. He says GoFundMe pulled thousands of dollars out of the charity's bank account. He said he would send Team 10 documents to prove it. Three weeks later, those documents have not been sent.
Meanwhile, GoFundMe directed Team 10 to First Giving, a company who represents their charity payment partners. A representative said the company cannot go into bank accounts and remove money once it has been transferred.
Team 10 tried to get ahold of Simpson, but his voicemail box was full and the charity did not return our email.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) said it is looking into the allegations leveled against Marines and Mickey.
A spokesperson told Team 10: "I can confirm that NCIS is responding to complaints regarding financial practices of the charity Marines and Mickey. If other individuals have similar concerns, NCIS would like to speak with them. Beyond that, NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations."