Cancer Charities Exec Stole $187 Million for Personal Use

Cancer Charities Exec Stole $187 Million for Personal Use

By Brianna Ehley, The Fiscal Times

Donors who have given money to four of the largest cancer charities in the United States may have unknowingly been financing the  lavish lifestyle of the C.E.O. who runs them—paying for luxury cruises, elite gym memberships instead of treatment for cancer patients. 

That’s according to a suit filed Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission as well as attorneys general in all 50 states, which alleges that James Reynolds deceived and defrauded donors out of more than $187 million between four of his charities—including the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society. 

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The complaint says that the scheme started in the 1980’s. The charities told donors via telemarketing calls that their money would go toward medicine and transportation for cancer patients. However, most of the money actually went toward Reynolds’ personal indulges. 

The complaint says that between 2008 and 2012, only three percent of donations actually went to cancer patients. 

The FTC also accuses the organizations of cooking their books and reporting inflated revenues as well as “gifts in kind” that they said they distributed internationally. 

The FTC said two of the charities—the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society plan to settle the charges out of court. The Associated Press reported that the Breast Cancer Society, posted a statement on its website Tuesday blaming increased government scrutiny for the charity's downfall. 

"While the organization, its officers and directors have not been found guilty of any allegations of wrongdoing, and the government has not proven otherwise, our board of directors has decided that it does not help those who we seek to serve, and those who remain in need, for us to engage in a highly publicized, expensive, and distracting legal battle around our fundraising practices," the statement said. 

Several executives who were also involved in the sccheme, including Reynolds’ son, have agreed to a settlement, which bans them from working in fundraising or charities. The two charities that settled, Breast Cancer Society and the Children’ Cancer Fund of America will be dissolved. 

The settlement also orders a $65,664,360 judgment, which is the amount consumers donated between 2008 and 2012. Reynolds junior’s judgment will be for suspended once he pays $75,000. Meanwhile the legal proceedings for Reynolds’ senior and the two remaining charities are ongoing.

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GraphicStock
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Reuters
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