Iowa man charged with running phony military charity

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A Durango, Iowa man faces felony charges after he was accused of taking money from a charity set up to help military personnel.

Police said Christopher Simms, 50, set up a charity called “Forged By Fire,” through which he accepted money and merchandise donations that contributors thought were going to help military personnel.

“The investigation determined Simms has been obtaining donations from local businesses and citizens for personal use while claiming they were going towards a charitable contribution,” said a statement from Dubuque Police.

Simms is also accused of writing checks on a closed bank account in the name of the charity.

Court records show Simms was charged and warrants were issued for his arrest June 18, 2013 and he was arrested just after 3 p.m. Friday, July 5, 2013 at Third and Hill in Dubuque.  Simms is charged with felony second-degree fraudulent practice and misdemeanor third-degree theft.

Jail records show Simms was released from the Dubuque County Jail after posting bond July 6.

Anyone who may have been approached or solicited by Simms for donations to his “Forged By Fire” charity or with additional information is encouraged to contact Dubuque Police Investigator Nick Schlosser at (563) 587-3813.