MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A viral video captured a heated exchange between a combat veteran and two men whom he suspects are posing as veterans in an attempt to steal money from unsuspecting drivers.
"You guys cannot be doing that (expletive) here," Jose Pazos, a former Marine sergeant, said in the video. "You are collecting money representing that you're a veteran, and you're not a veteran and that's called stolen valor."
Pazos, who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he confronted the two men after he witnessed them collecting donations in full uniform at Bird Road and Southwest 67th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade County.
"I am 99.9 percent sure these guys are scam artists," Pazos said.
Pazos confronted the two men last week when he spotted them when he was on his way to work.
"They're not doing anything for veterans and that's what infuriated me," Pazos said.
Local 10 News spoke to the two veterans behind the non-profit Veterans and Patriots Citadel Inc. on Tuesday afternoon. At first, they gave Local 10 their mission statement.
"We're looking to make a difference in this world. There's too many homeless people out there as it is right now, and every little bit that we can do helps," Ed Ramsey, co-founder of Veterans and Patriots Citadel, said.
Ramsey said he served in the military in the 1980s.
They also showed Local 10 their government issued IDs, but when asked about the financials, Ramsey hesitated.
"We're brand new," he said. "We're a brand new foundation. You've got to start somewhere, and we started this with zero dollars."
Ramsey said the group had probably collected several thousand dollars thus far.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the license for this charity has been suspended. It is unclear why it was suspended, but another member of the charity told Local 10 that he believes their accountant made a mistake.
They said they would provide Local 10 with their financials by the end of the week.
Ramsey said he has nothing to hide and, despite that heated confrontation, he's still focused on helping out his fellow veterans.