Federal regulators accused four cancer charities Tuesday of spending more than $187 million in donations not to help patients, but on cars, luxury cruises and trips, jet ski outings, sport and concert tickets, dating site memberships and college tuition for family and friends.
The four sham charities — Cancer Fund of America, Inc., Cancer Support Services Inc., Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Inc. and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. — “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest and excessive insider compensation,” according to a federal complaint filed in the District Court of Arizona.
The defendants collectively spent less than 3% of the donated funds on cancer patients, according to the complaint. All 50 states and D.C. joined the Federal Trade Commission in filing the charge — one of the largest charity fraud cases to date, according to the FTC.
“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 release.