Cancer charities respond to FTC fraud suit

The Federal Trade Commission has accused the Cancer Fund of America, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, the Breast Cancer Society and Cancer Support Services of bilking donors out of $187 million.

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The Federal Trade Commission this week came down hard on four cancer charities that investigators say defrauded donors out of more than $187 million. Some of the charities have met the charges head-on, and others have run for the hills.

The organizations charged with charity fraud (along with some of their leaders) are Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CFA), Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS), Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CCFOA) and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. (BCS). From 2008 to 2012, the FTC claims that 85 percent of the money these organizations brought in went to fundraisers and personal extravagances, including a Disney vacation, concert tickets and data site memberships.

Only three percent of the funds collected actually went toward the actual charity.

“The defendants’ egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “The defendants took in millions of dollars in donations meant to help cancer patients, but spent it on themselves and their fundraisers.”

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