(NWA Online) – The Federal Trade Commission and all 50 states accused four cancer charities of being “sham charities,” saying the groups had deceived donors and spent more than $187 million in donations on personal expenses in one of the largest charity fraud cases ever, the commission announced Tuesday.
In soliciting donations through telemarketing calls and direct mail, the complaint says, the charities described specific uses for the money they solicited, like transporting patients to and from chemotherapy or purchasing pain medication for children.
“These were lies,” the complaint says, adding that the money went to the people running the charities for expenses like gym memberships, college tuition and dating website subscriptions. “Donations have enriched a small group of individuals.”
The charities — the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society — were created and controlled by the same network of people and led by James Reynolds Sr., the FTC says.