Actual cancer centers to receive $2.5 million from ‘sham’ cancer charities

Jun 21, 2019, 5:04 AM
FILE - In this December 2009 file photo, James T. Reynolds Sr., president of the Cancer Fund of Ame...
FILE - In this December 2009 file photo, James T. Reynolds Sr., president of the Cancer Fund of America, speaks in Knoxville, Tenn. Reynolds' two Tennessee-based cancer charities have been labeled "shams" by the Federal Trade Commission and have settled a massive fraud case by agreeing to a $75.8 million judgment and the dissolution of the businesses. The settlement with Reynolds, Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services was filed Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in federal court in Arizona.(Adam Brimer/Knoxville News Sentinel, via AP, File)
(Adam Brimer/Knoxville News Sentinel, via AP, File)

PHOENIX — Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced in a press release on Thursday that $2.5 million of funds from “sham” cancer charities will be dispersed to actual cancer centers across the county.

The announcement comes after a settlement was reached in a multistate enforcement action against the faux cancer organizations.

Those fake charities include the Cancer Fund of America, The Breast Cancer Society, Cancer Support Services and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, all founded by James Reynolds, amongst others.

The settlement resulted in the shutdown of the sham charities, liquidation of all available corporate and personal assets, and a lifetime ban for those involved in the fake charities from operating charitable organizations.

“I am proud Arizona helped lead this historic bipartisan state-federal action against sham cancer charities,” Brnovich said in the release.

“As a result of our collective action, millions of dollars that were donated under false pretenses will now go to fighting cancer, as the donors intended. This case is another reminder that all consumers must do their homework before donating to a charity, and never give out their personal information to telemarketers.”

The lawsuit, which was brought on in 2015 in the District of Arizona, alleged that the fake charities withheld millions of dollars from donors from 2008 to 2012 and that only 3% of the money obtained was actually given to cancer patients in the United States in the form of “care packages” that included clothing, DVDs and other items.

It was also discovered that the Cancer Fund of America never provided patients transportation to chemotherapy treatments or the pain medication that it had claimed to.

The alleged leaders of the phony charities were also said to have used the donations for personal salaries, concerts, vacations and even dating site memberships.

Under a services agreement with the plaintiffs, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors will now be given the funds and will both allocate and monitor the money that is sent to select health and medical programs targeting pediatric and breast cancer, which will be chosen through an invite-only application process that is limited to cancer care centers designated by the National Cancer Institute.

“We are pleased to be part of this landmark process of ensuring that the philanthropic intent of donors is coming to fruition, despite the conduct of bad actors,” Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors CEO Melissa Berman said in the release.

The lawsuit was the first time all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Federal Trade Commission collaboratively shut down phony charities.

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Actual cancer centers to receive $2.5 million from ‘sham’ cancer charities