Report: Four cancer charities conned donors out of $187 million

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WASHINGTON- The Federal Trade Commission says four cancer charities, that are run by member of the same family, conned donors out of $187 million and spent almost nothing on patients.

Authorities say they are taking aim at the Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tenn., the Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Ariz., the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services.

The government says the charities claimed to provide help to patients, including children fighting the disease.

“These were lies,” the government’s complaint alleges.

Jessica Rich, chief of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, says the charities spent about 97 percent of donations on fundraisers or themselves. Only three percent went to help cancer patients.

“Donated funds were used to pay for vehicles, personal consumer goods, college tuition, gym memberships, Jet Ski outings, dating website subscriptions, luxury cruises, and tickets to concerts and professional sporting events,” the complaint reads.

“Most of what we are doing is bringing actions against fraud,” said Rich. “And this is about as bad as it can get: taking money away from cancer victims.”

In addition to using the money for other purposes, the complaint claims that “rampant nepotism” is at play in all of the charities.

In one instance, a family member, who had worked as a caterer, was hired to write grant applications.

As a result of the FTC complaint, Breast Cancer Society and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America are closing their doors.

According to CNN, James Reynolds Jr., the CEO of Breast Cancer Society, faces a judgement of more than $60 million in fines.

Rose Perkins, who runs the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, faces a judgement of $30 million.

Rich told CNN that government regulators would be lucky to recover $1 million.

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