UPDATE: Two indicted on 37 separate charges in Happy Valley theft and charity-fraud case


News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Updated: Feb. 2, 2015, 10:55 a.m.


After an eight-month investigation into claims of theft and charity fraud, the Happy Valley Police Department -- along with investigators from the Oregon Department of Justice, Charitable Activities Section and Oregon Department of Human Services -- presented a case to a Clackamas County Grand Jury on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015.

The Grand Jury indicted Mr. Michael Brennan, 51, and Mrs. Maria Brennan, 46, of Happy Valley on 37 separate charges, including:

  • Felony charges for Theft in the First Degree by Deception, related to their operation of the Matthew M. Brennan Foundation
  • Felony charges for theft of services
  • Felony charges for unlawfully obtaining public assistance
  • Felony charges for unlawfully using supplemental nutritional assistance

The Clackamas County District Attorney's Office has filed for arraignment of both suspects and prosecution of the cases. Mr. Michael Brennan and Mrs. Maria Brennan were both arraigned on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 at Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Photographs of both suspects are linked above, along with the indictments (in PDF format).

Earlier news releases on this case are reproduced below.

EARLIER (May 14, 2014): Clarification on 'Saving America's Heroes' incorporation and non-profit status

Booking photo: Michael Andrew Brennan

A clarification on the language used in yesterday's press release:

The charitable organization established by Michael Brennan, "Saving America's Heroes," incorporated and registered at the state level, but never received the 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS claimed by Michael Brennan to receive donated funds and services from businesses and private persons.

To verify the status of any charitable organization, you may call the Oregon Department of Justice, Charitable Activities Section, at (971) 673-1880. Tax exempt status may be checked through the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check.

We encourage the public to research charitable organizations and verify information through the state of Oregon and the federal government.

This clearer language has also been worked into an edit of yesterday's press release, reproduced below.

EARLIER (May 13, 2014): Happy Valley police arrest man on multiple Theft by Deception charges; tips, possible additional victims sought

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Happy Valley Police, working with other agencies, served a search warrant at 11056 SE Hilltop Ct. in Happy Valley. Following the warrant service, deputies arrested Michael Andrew Brennan, age 50, on three counts of Theft by Deception. Brennan is alleged to have committed food-stamp fraud, defrauded his disabled father-in-law, and accepted charitable donations for a charitable organization without 501(C)(3) status. Happy Valley Police are looking for additional possible victims; tips are sought.

Authorities believe Michael Brennan had been accepting donations through a website and Facebook page, both titled "Saving America's Heroes" -- telling donors that proceeds went to the "Matthew M. Brennan Foundation ... a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization ... for America's soldiers." However, no such 501 (C) (3) filing exists.

On Michael Brennan's www.savingamericasheroes.org webpage -- since taken down but archived online here -- Michael Brennan and his wife Maria Brennan wrote that the nonexistent foundation had been created to help soldiers with PTSD, and had been founded in honor of their late son, an Oregon Army National Guard veteran who committed suicide in 2011 at age 22. (An Oregonian story on the Brennans can be found here.)

Authorities have found evidence that funds and services donated to "Saving America's Heroes" did not go toward the stated mission of the website.

Authorities also allege that Brennan stole money from his father-in-law -- a 65-year paraplegic -- taking money from the victim's bank account and using it for personal purchases.

Brennan also allegedly convinced multiple local contractors to donate remodeling services to the Happy Valley home in the name of the Matthew M. Brennan Foundation, which does not have the 501 (C) (3) designation repeatedly claimed by Michael Brennan.

Michael Brennan was booked into the Clackamas County Jail. His bail is $45,000. A booking photo of Brennan is linked above, and full booking info can be found here.

Agencies assisting in the investigation include the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (Investigations Division), Adult Protective Services, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Three Clackamas County cities -- Damascus, Happy Valley, and Wilsonville -- contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office to provide municipal police services.


If you have any other information on Michael Brennan and these alleged crimes or feel you may have been victimized by Michael Brennan, contact us using our Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the new online email form.


News-release archive

Contact Info:
Sergeant Nathan Thompson
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office