Tags: FTC | charity | fraud | cancer

Four Cancer Charities Accused of $187 Million in Fraud

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 07:48 AM

Four organizations claiming to help cancer patients allegedly siphoned off more than $187 million to pay for lavish salaries, luxury vacations and other goods in what could be one of the largest cases of US charity fraud, authorities said.

The US Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement officials from all 50 US states charged the organizations with being "sham charities" that stuffed the vast majority of donations in the pockets of directors, family, friends and fundraisers, according to documents filed in the southwest state of Arizona.

"This is one of the largest actions brought to date by enforcers against charity fraud," the FTC said in a statement.

The organizations, all led by relatives and their close friends, claimed that the funds would be put towards cancer patients' medication and hospital bills.

However, the funding was used "for lucrative employment for family members and friends" in a scheme that began in 1987, the statement said.

It alleged that the donations were spent on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships.

Professional fundraisers often received 85 percent or more of every donation, it added.

To hide the expenses and high salaries, the organizations inflated their revenue by reporting in-kind donations totaling more than $223 million made in other countries, but were in fact only pass-through agents for those goods.

Meanwhile only three percent of donations made it to cancer patients.

The organizations are the Cancer Fund of America (CFA), Cancer Support Services (CSS), the Children's Cancer Fund of America (CCFOA) and the Breast Cancer Society (BCS).

"Cancer is a debilitating disease that impacts millions of Americans and their families every year," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"The defendants' egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support," she added.

© AFP 2019

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The Federal Trade Commission and all 50 states on Tuesday accused four cancer charities of being “sham charities,” charging that the groups had deceived donors, misspending more than $187 million in donations, in one of the largest charity fraud cases ever.
FTC, charity, fraud, cancer
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 07:48 AM
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